By Elizabeth Cichowski, Jaclyn DeMeuse, & Allyson Haefke
COMM Week 2021 was completely virtual this year. It was held from March 30th to April 1st, 2021. The newly renovated virtual COMM Week went as planned.
Because COMM Week is usually an in-person event, the COMM Week team could not predict how the virtual setting would affect participation and event success. The team was willing to give it all they had to make it work, leading them to create two virtual events, two virtual competitions, and one collaborative event with PRSSA.
Students kicked off COMM Week a week early, uploading their competition videos for the 3x3x3 and Film Festival competitions. These competitions started early, offering the virtual judges a chance to watch all seven Film Festival entries and seven 3x3x3 entries. After watching the videos, the judges made their grading decisions and ready for the planning team by the beginning of COMM Week via Qualtrics survey format. This format made the competition interaction safer and more manageable, as it is hard to control online platforms. Judges additionally had a chance to speak to one or two members of each group from the 3x3x3 competition to allow students to offer more insight into their projects. This was a Zoom meeting, but it went as planned because of its dialogue guidelines and a format that required alumni and students to take turns asking and answering questions.
The first actual event of COMM Week was the “Let’s Talk About Your Future” event on Tuesday, March 30th, at 6:30 p.m. This event was split into two sections, “Grad School” and “Careers,” with the University of Wisconsin- Green Bay Communication alumni making up two separate panels for experience sharing and Q&A opportunities. The separation allowed students to choose which path they were considering for their future and focus their attention. Both events had communication alumni that ranged from graduating a year ago to five years ago. It was a way to understand how each communication department’s alumnus chose differently or even the same paths after they graduated. Students who will graduate this May or even in the years to come could learn from these events to learn about grad school or start their career after graduating.
The second event of the week was held on Wednesday, March 31st, at 7 p.m. COMM Week collaborated with PRSSA for an event with Kyle Malzhan, who graduated from UWGB in December of 2020 as a Communication major with emphases in Sports Comm and Mass Media. He is now a Digital Content Producer/Reporter at WFRV-Channel 5 in Green Bay, WI. At this event, Kyle talked about his career and how he got this job before he even graduated college since he was originally a part-time reporter for WFRV. Events like this can help students at UWGB who are graduating this spring, seeing what it is like working in the workforce right out of college.
The final event was “COMM Zoom with us,” which was held on Thursday, April 1st at 6 pm via Zoom. This event was held with 40 plus communication faculty, alumni, communication students, the COMM Week planning team, Chancellor Michael Alexander, and Vice-Chancellor Kate Burns. The Chancellor and Vice-Chancellor began the event by saying a few words about the Communication Department. Later, this event introduced the new communication professor, Justin Kavlie, who will be starting this fall. This event also showcased the COMM Week team and the COMM faculty. Another part of the banquet was showcasing the winners of the 3x3x3 and Film Festival competition who past alumni of the communication department judged. Finally, Liz Cichowski and Lindsay Fanning, the Director and Co-Director of COMM Week, thanked everyone for coming and gave a huge thank you to the sponsors and Dr. Phil Clampitt as well.
This week of events was the first virtual COMM Week ever, but overall, all the events went as planned. There were no technical problems that have a high probability during a virtual event. The team gave their thanks to Liz Cichowski, Lindsay Fanning, and Matthew Knoke for directing and heading this event.