I wasn’t sure what to expect from today, but my immediate reaction is that the best part of sitting on an alumni council is the opportunity to sit in a room of people passionate about two things:
1.) The university
2.) The industry
For me, that’s a rare thing. There were some really bright people in attendance and they represented all ends of the media spectrum.
I’m in between Relays events, so there isn’t a whole lot of time to delve too deeply into the conversations, but a quick rundown of my highlights:
- Alumni are frequently looking for talent, and there are talented students frequently looking for opportunities. A disconnect is occurring because there is no simple way to communicate between the two. Advertising Professionals of Des Moines uses this forum, how about a DrakeMediaGigs.com?
- It’s getting hard to find students interested in pursuing a career in news. So much so that the idea of tossing out the news major altogether has surfaced. That idea didn’t go far, but it’s interesting. Will MTV’s upcoming series The Paper be the Watergate of this generation? Umm… doubt it.
- Emerging media is key. Well, duh.
- There’s new initiatives to encourage students to take a more diverse array of media courses. There’s more cooperation and it’s leading to students having a broader base of experience.
- Who said you had to earn your degree in 3-credit chunks at a time? The J-School staff is considering breaking away from this and breaking up classes into smaller, more diverse learning experiences. That’s genius.
- The most challenging thing about the media industry is that it’s changing at an increasing rate. That results in a lot of alumni who would like to join in the learning process with the undergrads.
The final big thing is a J-School alumni event in September or October. A date isn’t established yet and it’s tentatively planned to go down at Principal Park. Plans are a little muddy at the moment, but the main goal seems to get everyone back and to establish a more vibrant community of Drake media alumni. Once that’s established, then we can worry about spamming each other with solicitations.
If you’re a Drake alum and would like to help with the event, there’s opportunities to do so.
And a final shout-out to two of the members – Tanner Stransky and Gina Olszowski. They’ve both recently become authors. Gina’s Now Coming to a Town Near You is the product of her passion for the effects of urban sprawl and Tanner’s Find Your Inner Ugly Betty is a unique look at 25 career lessons for young professionals based on the teachings of shows like The Office and Grey’s Anatomy.
Let me know your thoughts or if I missed something. But for now, I’m off to celebrate Relays over a whole bunch of beers.