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Welcome to MNFurs, a local community site where fans of anthropomorphic animals and artists can gather to meet each other locally in the Twin Cities and surrounding area; forming friendships, meeting new people, educate others, and help out the local community. To access chat, forums, and the additional features of this site you must register for a free account or log in.

Alex “Euro” Mei

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    Tell us about yourself

    My name is Euro, and while I have had a fursona for quite some time, I only began getting involved with MNFurs in 2015 by doing photography at events and Furry Migration.  I became the MNFurs secretary a few years later and eventually became a board member in 2019.  My fursona is a black wusky, though my fursuit is of my gold jaguar character.

    What brought you to the furry fandom?

    The first time I learned about “furry” and “fursonas” so to speak is through the movie “Balto” and an online chat group, so that brought me to the fandom.  But what is more important is what kept me there: the people I met and the friendships I developed.  The same goes for getting involved with MNFurs: I discovered the group through the website, but I stayed with the group because of the people I met and the friendships I developed.

    How will you continue to volunteer in the community after being elected to the board?

    I would most want to focus on getting involved with photography once again.  While I am currently also a member of the Communications Team, I would like to step up my participation here as well.

    How do you view events like Furry Migration and Midwinter Frolic impact the Minnesota Furs community today and tomorrow?

    Furry Migration and Midwinter Frolic are very different and they, along with our picnics and holiday party, are among our most well-known and high-profile events.  They are thus the “face” of the organization for newcomers and long-term community members.  However, because they appeal to different individuals, MNFurs can promote the organization to individuals with different interests and of different demographics.

    What are your strengths that you will bring to the board?

    I have developed a slightly different perspective and a slightly different thought process on matters not only because of my job and employer but also because of my major, accounting.  As a result, I can see topics from a different angle than my fellow co-administrators and can hopefully catch things that could have been missed before making a decision.  Also, even if I disagree on certain matters, I still try to push the conversation forward and offer ideas to try and find a solution that works for everyone.

    What do you feel are areas where you want to further develop yourself?  Why?

    I would like to be more assertive, be more willing to take the initiative, and be able to respond to criticism more effectively.  In the past, I tried to make decisions and formulate ideas, proposals, and such through almost unanimous consensus.  Thus, I would typically avoid taking on certain projects, taking certain positions in matters, or hesitate to take the initiative for fear of any negative feedback or pushback.  I would engage in extensive diplomacy to try and come up with solutions that satisfied both sides of the table, but I have started realizing over the years that this is not always feasible when I found myself giving up too much.  I have begun realizing that there are times when one must take a more hardline stance and hold one’s ground on certain matters, that there are many obstacles to get around in accomplishing one’s goals, and there will be times when one has to walk away from the table.  I have realized that one’s opinions will oftentimes not be universally popular or accepted, and I am still trying to develop better skills in being able to tactfully respond to and maneuver against any feedback from these situations.

    How can Minnesota Furs reach out to other communities local and national in furry and other fandoms?

    One thing that MNFurs can do is be more open and welcome to communication and assistance from other groups and individuals, furry and otherwise, not only within the state but outside the state as well.  This can be done by having some sort of organizational or representative presence not only through MNFurs’ own events but also through events run by other organizations as well.  Staff can attend events or hold small gatherings at conventions outside of MNFurs’ events to establish and strengthen relationships with other communities, but what is most important is to keep in constant communication so that any relationships formed are long-lasting, deep, and useful.

    What are two things that you would like to see accomplished/improved during your tenure?

    1.     Improve/redesign the website.  This is something that I had been calling for at the start of my last term, and while I know that progress has been made in the background, there have been many more obstacles than have been foreseen.  Nonetheless, this is still something that needs to be done and I am hoping to assist in the completion of this task.  The website is the nerve center and map for the organization not only for those within the community but also for those outside the community and while all the necessary information is on the website, user-friendliness is not a strong point.
    2.     Get more community members involved in the administrative/operational side of things.  While MNFurs’ major events are well-attended, staff and volunteers have been stretched very thin not only at events but also on the administrative side of things.  Getting more community members involved in helping out at these events can be done through a multitude of ways, including more outreach to the community through public and private conversations, and a constant reiteration of the need for help on the website and other social media channels, whether for volunteers or staff.  Furthermore, a more thorough explanation of how the organization works, a better explanation of the different ways in which one can provide assistance, and a better explanation of what volunteering and staffing entails should help as well.

    One goal of MNFurs is to promote education.  How do you intend on helping promote education?

    The first thing that comes to mind would be to hold panels at Furry Migration, but I would also look into trying to integrate panel or educational components to Midwinter Frolic or our Oval Meets as well.

    Minnesota Furs can become a second life and a second job.  How do you plan to keep yourself active in other things and other communities?  What are your hobbies and can those be separate from Minnesota Furs?

    First of all, it starts with knowing just how much I can feasibly take on without stretching myself too thinly, and knowing that increasing my commitment in one area means taking away some of my commitment somewhere else.  The key things here are balancing and prioritizing my interests, and also proper scheduling to ensure that things are evenly spread out throughout the year.  If there is one takeaway that I learned after getting involved with the local furry community, it is that the people in the fandom have a multitude of wide-ranging interests.  With myself, I have an interest in photography, cars, anime, and travel.  I am able to have these interests coexist with my involvement in MNFurs, either by integrating these interests into my involvement with MNFurs or the furry fandom itself.

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