By Cody Myers
Kutztown University is home to a plethora of clubs that cater to the interests and passions of its students. The most valuable thing students can gain from clubs are connections that create friendships and opportunities that may last a lifetime.
Some clubs hope to prepare their members for their field of interest, such as Kutztown’s extension of National Broadcasting Society (NBS), which is based around the Cinema, Television, and Media Production department.
14 KU NBS students equipped with suits, business cards and résumés headed to Washington D.C. on Feb. 27 to participate in the NBS National Convention.
This once a year event consisted of three days of panels featuring industry professionals, mostly about news and sports, but others included podcasts and TV/film.
One panel featured Millersville Alumni and Viacom Internship Coordinator Andrea MacRae. Every seat was filled as she talked about interning at Viacom and how to get one step ahead of everyone else.
It’s interesting to note that Steve Cheskin, creator of Discovery Channel’s “Shark Week,” was unable to fill every seat in the same room. Regardless of the event, all the students remained respectful and professional throughout the day.
A typical panel consisted of the speaker summing up what they did and then leaving the remaining time to questions. Like clockwork, after each panel ended, the speakers were swarmed by students in professional attire, eager to exchange information.
While the guest speakers were limited by time, the students were there all week. Several of the convention’s events were created with the intention for the students to mingle.
Meeting fellow college students with similar interests and leaving a good impression is how connections were formed.
Many of the student interactions occurred during lunches with one another. On the last day, the lunch was akin to a survey.
The people who run NBS reached out to the students eating. After one woman jokingly asked, “Can we talk about how ‘The Room’ is the greatest movie of all time?” a dialogue began about how to make the convention better, the students mostly asking for more film-related panels.
It was a first-hand example of how the younger generation is changing the industry and the established figures must adjust accordingly or be left behind in a dying profession.
The convention concluded on March 3 with an awards ceremony that the chapter was excited about. KU had three members inducted into AERho, their honor’s fraternity, and four projects nominated for awards.
The four categories with KU representation were Short Film, Video Comedy Segment, Video Entertainment and/or Music Program and Video Sports Package.
Although KU didn’t win any of their categories, they were not discouraged. Chapter President Liz Baiera gave her chapter a pep talk that night, saying “It’s not about the awards, it’s about the connections.” This future thinking mentality has helped Baiera make the most of the club’s opportunities.
Despite only being a Junior, she has been able to work for the Lehigh Valley Phantoms and freelance weddings thanks to KU NBS alumni. Baiera wants to provide the same opportunities for newer members.
She plans on doing this by bringing in guest speakers and hosting workshops. Both provide students with the opportunity to see what the industry is like.
Going to the National Convention is expensive, and the PASSHE school students (e.g. Kutztown, Millersville, and Bloomsburg) paid for nearly everything out of pocket.
KU Junior Ryan Smith said, “It’s a testament to our skills. Our program doesn’t have the same amount of money or equipment, but we’re still competing against Division 1 schools.” Smith was referencing the fact that a sports segment on the Golden Bears Football team competed against one produced by the University of Florida.
Sela Fuhrman, a KU Junior, commented on the event, “NBS was a great opportunity to network and meet tons of people in the field. I may have met my future boss, or they may have met theirs.”
Of course, students don’t have to attend a fancy and expensive convention to make connections. Everyone makes connections right on campus. You meet them in classes, in clubs, and yes, even during lunch. They are the people you call friends, and someday they will be climbing the ladder of their respective career path.
The NBS National Convention was like a salmon leaving its stream and entering the ocean. It’s a big and tough world out there, but there are ways to make the transition easier. NBS has always been about making connections, and that’s something anyone can do anywhere.
Being kind and branding yourself can often go farther than staying in your bubble and winning a few awards. KU may not have won any awards this year, but its students won something better: connections and friendships that will last a lifetime.