From rural Vermont to the madness of Times Square, members from the Spartan staff shared more than information sessions during the College Media Association’s annual conference on March 9-11.
Although the purpose of the trip was to attend at least six sessions, the experiences shared between the 10 staff members were just as valuable as the information gained, they said.
The bonding experience began from the moment they left Castleton and were crammed into a 10-passenger van for five hours.
“I grew close with a lot of people. New trusts and friendships were built and I got to know my fellow editors,” said Becka Roe.
Similar attitudes were shared about the sessions attended.
“I felt like I learned a lot. I went to a couple [sessions] that were out of my element but I decided to go out on a limb and learn something new,” said Bryanna Allen-Rickstad.
Allen-Rickstad mentioned that one of the most informative sessions she attended was Sports and Controversies and how the Penn State issue is a great example of how even sports writers need to be prepared to deal with emotional issues.
For Roe, the highlight was keynote speakers Willie Geist from the Today show and Jason Wagenheim from Teen Vogue.
“The keynote speakers were very inspiring. How people work their way up from the bottom,” said Roe enthusiastically.
Discussions about the sessions flowed openly through the group during the weekend.
“I thought they were very motivational. Some of the things they had to say were really inspiring. The blogging session encouraged people to go out and make a blog so the day after I got home I made one,” said Spartan Co-Editor Courtney Parker.
Although loads of information was obtained during the sessions, some good old fashion city common sense escaped a few. Some decided to buy scalped tickets to the Knicks game at Madison Square Garden. While standing outside MSG, they were approached by a guy who sold them counterfeit tickets.
“When I handed my money to him I was like ‘yup just go have dinner on me’,” said Parker who claims she saw this coming.
Although it was an unfortunate turn of events, it ended up being yet another bonding experience.
“I think there were some groups that clicked really well and I got to know some people a lot better than I really thought I would and make some new friends instead of someone I just work with,” said Molly DeMellier.
Professor Dave Blow, advisor for The Spartan, said he was impressed with both the conference and the bonding of the staff.
“I thought it was neat to see friendships being made, including some among people who I didn’t think would bond,” he said
Blow also learned a few new tricks himself and even had the opportunity to talk to other advisors.
“I attended one session where professors were sharing tips and lessons for the classroom,” he said. “I spoke about my ethics compassion lesson where I bring in an actress to portray the mother of a kid who died in an alcohol related crash and make select students interview her. They seemed to really like the lesson.”
The trip, staff members say, left them more motivated and refocused for last few issues this year.