Upon The Villager’s call to make an impact, I submitted my nomination petition and ran a small local campaign for River Hill’s Columbia Council Representative position. For the first time, I brought my daughter with me to knock on our neighbors’ doors one by one. Talking to them and asking for a vote was quite a different experience for me. Now I am the community’s new council representative, and I feel honored to serve both River Hill and all Columbia residents.
Our community is always watching what the Columbia Association (CA) and Howard County Government are doing. When I knocked on one neighbor’s door, he thanked me for coming forward to serve our neighborhood and then complained about a road near the Columbia Gym. He said the problem has been there for 15 years and has not been fixed. While I had complained about the road to myself, it is muddy when raining and slippery when snowing, I had never thought this was a big problem for others. At that moment I realized this condition is actually affecting many people in the community, and as individuals we all have a responsibility to take steps to improve situations that are of concern to us. I will make sure that each complaint or concern that I receive from our residents will be heard, considered, forwarded to the appropriate organization for resolution when necessary, and factored into my decision-making.
In today’s society, it is not difficult to make a living if we work hard. However, to make a positive impact is not all that easy. For the majority of people, our family is our highest priority, and that is what we focus on. As residents of River Hill, how can each of us make a positive impact on our community?
We just need to get involved. We need to spend extra time and energy to dedicate ourselves to the issues that are important to us. We need to balance our job, our family, and our community involvement. Since volunteering in the community may not lead to a direct benefit to one’s family, sometimes we don’t have the support for a huge time commitment. However, there are many small ways that individuals can make an impact in our community. We occasionally need to get out of our comfort zone, deal with people from other backgrounds, and learn new stuff, all of which is challenging and even a little scary.
To serve the people, it is very important to listen to others and take a balanced approach. A positive impact for one group may mean a negative impact for another group. Elected representatives need to make choices when we vote. As your Columbia Council Representative, I recognize that at times I will have to make difficult choices.
Our community is more complex than ever. Issues such as “not in my backyard”, green energy, social integration, big business bullying little people, and corrupt politicians are among those I heard about from residents when I talked to our neighbors. These various viewpoints will make the decision-making process much harder and require patience and collaboration from all involved parties.
We don’t need to be a significant figure to make an impact. Our participation and leadership in any activity will make an impact. Volunteering to help count the number of pedestrians on a section of the CA pathways is one way to make an impact. Serving on the Board of Directors of CA is another way to make an impact. We just need to get involved in the manner that works best for us as individuals and for our families.
I hope to make a positive impact on our Columbia community, and I will devote my time to make our quality of life better.
I am looking forward to hearing from you on the matters that are of importance to you.
Chao Wu, PhD
River Hill Representative to Columbia Council
Columbia Association Board of Directors