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SOC hosts Student Organization Fair

SOC hosts Student Organization Fair
September 17, 2020

By Genevieve Buthod

More than a dozen School of Communication student organizations recently held a recruiting fair to describe their activities and attract new members during these challenging times.

With Loyola largely shuttered by the pandemic, students organizations are meeting and performing their activities remotely. Thus, the September 9 SOC Student Organization Fair also was virtual.

Despite the challenges, the Fall SOC Student Organization Fair featured student leaders and faculty and staff advisors for many student organizations. The turnout was encouraging, with many new students, as well as older, more experienced students, all of whom had the chance to learn first-hand about which student organization is best for them.

Paul Quinn, the Operations Manager at student-run radio station WLUW, spoke first and informed attendees about how everything works at the radio station. The students at WLUW have been broadcasting on air for over 40 years, and are still broadcasting remotely despite the studio being closed down due to Covid-19 safety concerns. Their staff include DJ’s, an audio production team, a marketing and promotions team, and a music director team who bring in new artists for interviews. Students can reach out to studio staff and email them with any questions, as well as apply to be a part of WLUW.

Ben Stringer, editor of The Gull News spoke next, and told new students about the SOC’s humor and satire online publication. Many comedy groups on campus have been shut down, but The Gull remains open and available, even with everything online. They have an application on their website, and students can also email their submissions to thegull.com. Even if you don’t want to write, you can always check out the Gull’s Instagram account for a much-needed laugh during this tough year!

Mary Chappell, editor-in-chief of the Loyola Phoenix, mentioned that they are currently looking for writers. They are looking for students interested in opinion and editorial positions, arts and entertainment, sports, as well as photographers and anyone who could help with ad sales. For anyone looking to get involved in print journalism, particularly journalism majors, this is a great place to start.

Next, Senior Instructor and Director of Debate David Romanelli spoke, letting students know that “open” is the key word when it comes to Debate Society. The team will be doing a Zoom debate with schools from around the country, including University of Denver in October. On Oct. 3, they will compete in a national online tournament, and they will even be participating in an online tournament with Oxford in England this year. They will hold this year’s annual Halloween Harry Potter Debate online on Oct. 29.

Aurora Nelson, President of the University of Chicago chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) joined the event to speak about her organization. Student members have the chance for professional development and networking with other members of the society. They will also be able to attend events like “Loyola SOC Alumni Tell All” and resume and cover letter workshops. Members will have access to scholarships, internships, and awards specific to PRSSA. There will be a $40 fee to participate this year, which is significantly lower than it has been in the past. If you are interested in joining PRSSA, please contact Recruitment Director Natalie Angerita at nangarita@luc.edu. You can also follow PRSSA on Instagram and Twitter at @loyolaprssa, and apply to become a member here.

Gabe Paredes-Reyes spoke about both Small Town Chicago and Rambler Roundup. Small Town Chicago was created last year and makes mini-documentaries about Chicago communities, especially those that cover the strengths of smaller neighborhoods. They meet on Wednesdays at 7 p.m., but that could change due to Covid-19. They are looking to expand more on social media, including gaining new audience members for the show. You can email chicagosmalltown@gmail.com if you have any questions, and look up “Small Town Chicago” on YouTube to see their videos. Rambler Roundup is another video news source at Loyola. Members can do general reporting, social media, write scripts, plan the shows, and become an anchor. There are many ways to get involved depending on your interests. You can email ramblerroundup@gmail.com or apply by using their Google Form here.

Amelia Ickes and Eric Moran, the Co-Executive Producers of Rambler Sports Locker, spoke next. They do broadcasting, debates, and segments on Loyola’s various sports teams. You don’t necessarily need to be interested in sports to participate. In fact, many of the members joined because of their interest in video production, video editing, and writing. In the past, they have covered Loyola Men’s Basketball and the Final Four. You can email RSL@luc.edu if you are interested in joining. Their weekly meetings are on Thursdays from 4-5 p.m. CT. This semester, Loyola athletics are postponed, so they will be focusing more on Chicago professional sports. You can follow RSL on Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.

Hailey Martin, the Corporate Communications Director, represented Inigo Communications, Chicago’s first student-run public relations agency. They have six clients this semester, including United Airlines and the American Heart Association. Inigo gives students the chance to take the skills they use in class and apply them in the real world. They are divided into four skill-based teams: the account team, the creative team, the public relations team, and the corporate communications team. They have mentors from Golin and Edelman, two big advertising agencies in Chicago. It’s a huge advantage to have these mentors available for advice and help, as well as to expand Inigo’s network of professional relationships. Full-time members are enrolled in the course and assigned to a team. Apprentice members participate but do not yet enroll or receive credit for participating. Applications are open from Sep. 18 to Oct. 9.  You can find out more by emailing them at Inigocommunications@luc.edu, or by visiting their Instagram, Facebook, or LinkedIn pages.

This year’s Ad Club President, Hallie Williams, spoke next. If you are the kind of person who watches the Super Bowl just for the commercials, this is definitely the club for you. In Ad Club you can look at awesome ads, talk about what’s happening in the industry, and meet fun guest speakers who give an inside look at the advertising world. This also provides good opportunities for professional networking. You can indicate over Google Calendars which nights work best for you. If you are interested in joining, please visit their page here.

Melanie Gorski, President of Lambda Pi Eta, the SOC Honors Society, followed Ad Club. Members of Lambda Pi Eta work together to better their professional and academic careers, with an emphasis on merit. They do have requirements for joining: a major or a minor within the School of Communication; completion of 45 hours of undergraduate study with 12 communication hours; and a minimum 3.5 cumulative GPA and a 3.25 major GPA. They will be hosting a social justice book club this year called “Seeing Color: A Discussion on Racial Awareness in America.” They will be reading Ta-Nehisi Coates’ “Between the World and Me.” Even if you are not interested in joining Lambda Pi Eta, you are still welcome to join the book club. On Oct. 22, they will have a digital book club meeting to discuss the book.

Professor Michael Limon then spoke about the Loyola chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ). They are all about supporting good journalism, the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), and the First Amendment. They are also enthusiastic about networking, professional development, and career support. One of the ways they receive that support is by working with the Chicago Headline Club, which is the largest professional chapter of SPJ in the country with 250 members from all areas of communication. The SOC chapter of SPJ hosts the FOIA Fest each spring and holds meetings with them throughout the semester. You can join SPJ for $37 per year, or $100 for four years. You gain access to virtual events and meetings, like those with the top media professionals in the country. You can email Professor Limon at mlimon@luc.edu for more information.

Student Media Manager Eleni Prillaman followed. She stressed the importance of joining a student organization, not just for the professional and career advancement, but also the fun side, too. She went on, “It’s really important getting involved with student media for the obvious reasons, like building your resume and gaining experience. But there’s so much more to it. We have a fun time being a part of all these organizations. At the radio station, we have so much fun going to all of the local events, like music festivals all over town. It’s an experience you can’t get anywhere else.” You can email her at eprillaman@luc.edu if you have any questions.

TV studio and Rambler Productions manager Jim Collins was our final organization speaker. He emphasized that Rambler Productions is a paying job. You don’t need any video experience, but it certainly helps. They film events on campus, and the student working that event handles the entire process from beginning to end. It gives good experience for project management, video shooting, producing and editing, and other skills. Most events on campus have been postponed this year due to Covid-19, but this is job is still available, and you can think of it like freelance work. If you would like to join, you can send a copy of your resume to jcollin@luc.edu. You can find a much more detailed explanation of Rambler Productions on the Loyola website here.

One of the questions raised at the end regarded which groups require applications, and which can just be joined by anyone interested. The groups that you can join without being “accepted” through an application process include: Ad Club, PRSSA, The Loyola Phoenix, WLUW, and Small Town Chicago.

Eleni Prillaman reminded students that specific paid internships and paid positions are actually available only through student organizations, such as the Phoenix and WLUW. It doesn’t hurt to reach out if you have an idea of something you want to do, and your organization may be able to help you achieve it.

Dean Hong Cheng spoke at the end to wrap up the event, and expressed his great pride for our students and organization leaders. He said, “I am so proud of each of you. And I’m so happy for you. I’m proud of you because of the talent you have, and the achievements you’ve made through your organizations. And I’m so happy for you because I thought, wow. How fortunate you are! To have so many choices, the chance to be part of so many student organizations available.” The Dean encouraged each student to join an organization that sparks their own interest, not just for fun and friends, but also because it can change them and give them advantages long after graduation. Even years after graduation, you will still have those fond memories of friends you made in the organizations you joined in college.

The School of Communication will also roll out a social media campaign this fall that will be devoted to promoting our student organizations, even those that could not make it to the online fair event.  Be sure to follow the SOC on Facebook at @LoyolaSOC and on Instagram and Twitter at @Loyola_SOC to see more!