Aubrey Portwood

Happiness Manifesto

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It’s one of my favorite words. Whether it be through Buddhism, through helping people though posts I put up when I figure something out, to how I treat other people, or just trying to be happy myself, I think about it a lot. Happiness is very important word to me to say the least. Some might say it’s a bit religious.


I used to work for New Mexico State University from 2007 – 2011 while I was a student there. I often look back at it with fond memories. Even though what I did there was just a blip on the radar, for me it was a big deal. I broke the rules and created a WordPress theme with the schools branding so that anyone could maintain a Website. I embedded fonts when CSS3 came around, made it responsive when iPhones showed up, and gave people options to remove unwanted elements of the then Web template. You could go full-screen, centered, and make the header static with just a few checkmarks and a Save button. NMSU Web Community (ICT), who made those HTML Web templates, didn’t seem to like what I was doing. I fought opposition, fought for WordPress and Accolade (the theme)…and won! They had a products too, and I totally understood…but it was not the best, I even gave it a chance, I swear! But, I still fought for WordPress. In the end, when I graduated, I made sure to hand over my code over to them to do as they wished…now they’re developing their own WordPress theme.

There was something super powerful about that experience and helping someone who isn’t a Web Developer like me build something on the Web using an awesome tool like WordPress. I liked pushing the boundaries and empowering people even when other’s didn’t want me too. I helped people…and I made a long-lasting product that helped over six departments run a Website. Many of which still run on Accolade, which I still continue to support and code for.

The best parts of doing that were the people I worked with, whom had no idea how to work with HTML, let alone PHP! In the end though, a few of them can now use CSS and Plugins with a vengeance! I helped a guy that worked in the back corner of a store room to use Accolade to build a Website that he painfully was coding content in using Dreamweaver, HTML, and PHP. I helped a couple of desk ladies at the Honors College tame a server a work-study left behind and rebuild their Website using WordPress too. I helped the HR department tame their decentralized Website into a central network of WordPress Multi-sites. And, every time we found we couldn’t do something, all we did was write a plugin!

Now, what I’m trying to get at is that the word happiness also has another word associated with it…WordPress. My experience at NMSU is just one experience. I haven’t committed code to core, I just barely submitted my own theme to, and I haven’t done any huge plugins (though I’ve done a few ittybitty one’s here and there) I have come to realize something at least…WordPress, and what comes with it, has made me happy. Whether it’s how I can just clone it and have something super powerful in my hands, like a Website, happen in less than five minutes, or how I can build a plugin to make WordPress do whatever I want, to just meeting so many people in the community that it seems overwhelming, I find a great deal of my own happiness through WordPress…somehow…some way.

That’s why I want to get more involved with WordPress…because it makes me happy!