Meet Morgan: Our New Operations Manager

PUGS is excited to announce the arrival of a new member of our team! Morgan Fitzgibbons will be taking over as Operations Manager, replacing Jess Kibler who is headed to the University of Iowa to pursue an MFA in Nonfiction Writing. Jess has played a big role here at PUGS and, while we’re sorry to see her go, we’re excited to see what Morgan can bring to our community. Let’s learn a little bit about him!

What’s your connection to PUGS? I’ve only just moved to Portland from Ohio in February, so I’m grateful to step into the role of Operations Manager despite not having a ton of direct contact with PUGS prior to being hired. I think PUGS chose me amongst a bunch of other qualified people because I have a lot of experience with organizations that are like PUGS - community based, radical, fun, even a little defiant of the what people thought was possible. I’ve led or co-led various organizations over the years, from a neighborhood resilience organization to a competitive underground community dinner to a weeklong community festival to a month-long activation of a 14,000 square foot warehouse to the non-profit area of a major music festival. Plus, I taught courses on community organizing, the Hippie movement, and even a course on the history of the Universe for four years at the University of San Francisco, so I think having that background in formal academia was a bonus as well (although I like to think my courses would have been right at home at PUGS too).

What will you be bringing to PUGS? First and foremost, I’m going to be working my hardest to fill Jess’ shoes - helping to curate courses, lining up classrooms, marketing, logistics, web design, etc. My head is spinning a bit, but it’s starting to slow down and I’m grateful that we have a month of overlap so I can learn the ropes. We’re also going to be consolidating the Operations Manager  and Coordinator positions, so I’ll be adding all of the coordination with students to my task-list. But once I get all the to-do lists lined up, I’m really excited to work with the PUGS community to dream up fun ways for us to connect with each other, both inside the classroom and out. We have great instructors at PUGS and we also have great students, and every successful endeavor I’ve been a part of has been built on tapping into the creativity of people around me. I know I want to help create things that are 1) fun and 2) continue in the great PUGS legacy of building something provocative largely because no one else dared to try it.

What does lifelong learning mean to you? I think a lot of people are more informed than they have ever been - indeed, the human community has never had more ready access to information, and it’s not even close. But it doesn’t feel like it’s really amounting to much - every day we watch in horror as clearly bad and wrong things happen and we feel powerless to do anything about them. I’m not sure the tide is turning quite how I once assumed it would. I want to figure out how my insatiable desire for more and more information can be used to create the world that I want to live in and pass down. I don’t think I have the answer, but, as I get older, I’m realizing more and more that learning this trick is going to be a lifelong endeavor.