COMM Week to celebrate communication arts on campus

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Photo credit/ Megan McGraw

Juniors Keaton Fedak and Kelly Rickert with freshman Zach Graham film junior Burt Sempier in the production of a promotional COMM Week video.

Elysabethe Brown, News Editor

On April 16, the communication arts department will kick-off its week-long celebration of communication with COMM Week.

COMM Week is a week full of communication-related events, this year with an emphasis on media storytelling. Some of the events are open to the campus community, an admission “fee” for all events will be a nutritious, non-perishable food item, which will be donated to Friends of the Poor upon conclusion of the week.

On Monday, April 16, a panel of communication arts alumni will speak about “Media Storytelling” at 6:00 p.m. in the Swartz Center. The speakers will be from all areas of the communications industry.  Dolores Nolan (’77), vice president of membership at the Radio Advertising Bureau in New York City, will serve as moderator.

Panelists include Regina Lanzo (’95), station operations manager for ION Media; Erica Mahady (’03), organizational development consultant for Lehigh Valley Health Network; and John Sabia (’04), producer at MTV. Panelists will discuss the challenges for telling stories through media and how new technologies affect their work.

“We are hoping that the alumni will provide glimpse out into the industry for our current students,” said Dr. Lindsey Wotanis, assistant professor of communication arts.

“It’ll be great for our students to talk to alums that are out in the field. Hearing it from other graduates will have more of an impact on them,” added Ernie Mengoni, coordinator of broadcast operations.

On Tuesday, the communication arts faculty will challenge students to some bowling competition at Idle Hour Lanes. In addition to the regular activities the communication arts students engage in, such as running The Wood Word, TVM, 91.7 VMFM and PRSSA, students have been involved in all phases of the planning and execution of COMM Week.

“Our students are the heartbeat of the department. They make it tick. We realize that they do a lot of work and we want to celebrate that and say ‘thank you,’” said Wotanis.

Dr. Wanda Reyes, assistant professor of communication arts, added that the students’ involvement in the preparations are key to their training as future communication professionals.

“For me, it is great to see students coming together because at the end of the day that is what the communication industry is about,” said Reyes.

On Wednesday, April 18, more than 100 local high school students will visit campus for a new event called the COMM Week Media Conference. The day will begin with a keynote address. Following the address, the high school students will attend different workshops organized by the communication arts majors. The day will come to an end with an awards ceremony for a storytelling contest about hunger in Northeast Pennsylvania that the high school students will have entered prior to the event.

“Many of our current undergraduate students have been working very hard to plan for this day and we are really excited about it,” said Kelly Rickert, junior communication arts major and student chair of the COMM Week committee.

COMM Week will conclude on Friday, April 20 with the Senior Showcase. Beginning at 11 a.m. and continuing throughout the day, communication arts seniors will present their capstone projects to the campus community. “This is a great opportunity to see what they have all been working on throughout their final year at Marywood,” said Rickert.

Throughout the week, Marywood’s chapters of Public Relations Student Society of America and Society of Collegiate Journalists will be organizing the collection of the nutritious, non-perishable food items collected throughout the week at the various events. All of the items will be donated to Friends of the Poor and all donations will be matched by a Feinstein Foundation grant.

Donation boxes will be located in the Media Center, Nazareth Student Center, the Sette LaVerghetta Center and Campus Ministry. According to Dr. Wanda Reyes, assistant professor of communication arts, the food drive is an important way for the department to give back to the university.

“If we can do anything to apply Marywood’s mission, we will do it. We believe in the mission and we will do what we can to live it in our department,” said Dr. Reyes.

According to Wotanis, the goal of COMM Week is to celebrate communication arts and share it with the rest of the campus community.

“We hope that students, faculty and staff from across campus will join us for the “Media Storytelling” panel discussion on Monday. And, we invite everyone to support our senior students as they culminate their Marywood experience on Friday with their capstone presentations. We’re happy to have this opportunity to share what we’re all about with the rest of the campus community,” said Wotanis.