MVArtReach officer shadow leads members in creating paper lanterns for hospital


Hannan Waliullah

A paper lantern that was made by an MVArtReach member. The lanterns were donated to Northeast Medical Services in San Francisco, and will be displayed on the front desk. Photo by Hannan Waliullah
Junior Shreya Parjan was nervous.

Her nervousness was due to the small group of people standing in front of her, waiting for her to start. She was prepared, of course she had a laptop illuminating a Powerpoint presentation that she had created before, she had thick colored paper scattered throughout the desks and she was well prepared.

Junior Shreya Parjan helps a club member with their project. Parjan, throughout the meeting travelled around the room aiding confused members. Photo by Hannan Waliullah

Although Parjan was leading the meeting of MVArtreach, she is not the president of the community-service-based arts and crafts club, nor is she the vice president, secretary or treasurer. Instead, she is the shadow. She was learning the role of the president through MVArtReach’s officer shadowing opportunity. Officer shadowing is the process in which club members follow an officer through their jobs. They learn how to go through the process of setting up a meeting, contacting outside organizations for support, finding an activity for the club and leading the meeting. A member will shadow and officer for many of the meetings until March, when officer applications come out.

“We wanted members to get more experience, but also learn what officers have to do in case they’re interested in applying for officer next year,” co-president Jennifer Chen said.

Throughout the meeting Parjan eagerly walked around the room, clarifying instructions for members, receiving feedback for the project idea and encouraging the other members.

Parjan received a lot of input from the co-presidents as to what the expectations and planning process were.

“I reached out to an organization and asked what sort of crafts they would want,” Parjan said. “After getting some responses I thought, this would be an interesting craft to make, because [it doesn’t] take up the entire time but [it’s] sort of fun.”

Paper with intricate designs were scattered throughout the desks. Taking a pushpin, students created designs by stabbing holes through the scrapbook-type paper. Then, creating a cylinder with the paper, the crafters stood the cylinder upright and inserted a red light into the cylinder.

An example of a paper lantern that was made, along with materials. Photo by Hannan Waliullah

“I contacted North East Medical Services which was a San Francisco based clinic and they told me that they’d love some crafts to spruce up [their] front desk area where a lot of the patients are,” Parjane said. “These lamps make a nice colorful display, they’re customizable and there’s a variety with the designs the members can do. The lights are red matching their logo, so it’s more personalized as well.”

After dimming the lights, it was possible to see the bright lantern casting a red glow throughout its general vicinity. However, the lantern wasn’t the only bright subject in the room; the officer team also felt that Parjane brightness and character also illuminated the room.

“It’s one of the first times we’ve had someone bring in electrical stuff for our projects so it was really cool,” senior co-president Janani Sridhar said.  “It’s really heartwarming to see how much effort someone puts in even though they’re not an officer.”