Communication department hosts first ever Communication Week

By Chelsie Gastright, Organization Editor

April 24, 2013

Throughout the week of April 8, the High Point University Nido R. Qubein School of Communication hosted its first ever Communication Week.

With the help of the Society of Professional Journalists and the communication honor society Lambda Pi Eta, Communication Week had plenty in store for students of all majors.

On April 8, Pulitzer Center journalist Daniel Grossman spoke to students about his research on global warming. He explained that while on his journey to Central America, he ended up stumbling upon his article about ice caps melting and causing detrimental flooding. This information was found while he was researching a man who paints the mountains near his town.

HPU’s game and interactive design majors also had a part in Communication Week by hosting a video game tournament on April 9. This tournament was held in the game lab in the communication building and was open to all students who wished to attend and compete.

On April 10, SPJ hosted its first event since it became an official organization this past fall. The First Amendment Free Food Festival was held on the Slane Outdoor Basketball courts. Students came and received free food, but not before signing away their first amendment rights.

“I think that a lot of people take their first amendment rights for granted. For everyone that stopped by, they were getting something in return but they were giving up their rights,” said Christina Buttafuoco, president of SPJ.

For one hour, students in attendance lost their freedom of speech, religion, assembly, petition and press, and were sent to jail if they were caught breaking any rules. Throughout the course of the hour, a photographer, videographer and several students were “arrested” on various charges of violating the contract they signed to receive their food.

“I think it was a success, especially since it was our first event on campus,” said Buttafuoco. “This was the biggest event we’ve done and hopefully we can do it again next year.”

Later that evening, Dr. Jack Shaheen, a Hollywood consultant on Arab portrayal, showed his documentary, “Reel Bad Arabs” in the University Center Cinema.

Shaheen’s feature film dove into something that has been coined as “islamophobia” and how American citizens, Hollywood and media are vilifying the Islamic people.

“It’s so much easier to have somebody to pick on, to feel superior,” explained Shaheen. “And this one has been with us a long time. Stereotypes take a long time to change. A long, long time.”

However, he stressed that the key to beating stereotypes is making everyone equally flawed. This is especially true in movies and television shows. Shaheen went on to say that if the media can portray each character as no better, worse or different than another character, that is the true victory.

That following day, HPU hosted David Neal, an Emmy-winning head of Fox World Cup Soccer. When he arrived on April 11, two groups of students had the chance to either eat lunch or dinner with Neal.

Kevin Russell, a junior journalism major, was one of the students that accompanied Neal to dinner and then escorted him to Phillips for his presentation. Russell says both the dinner and the talk were extremely useful to his education and his future career.

“I really got to connect with one of the leaders in the sports broadcasting industry,” said Russell. “He gave us some great insight and he was just a down to earth kind of guy. He understands where college students are coming from now a days and he gives great advice on how to get an internship, how to get a job, and things like that, in the sports industry.”

On April 12, the School of Communication hosted an awards banquet in the Greek Village Conference Room. During this event, dinner was served, awards were given out, and there were various speakers.

The final event hosted for Communication Week included two films presented by the River Run Film Festival on April 15. Students in attendance viewed “The Naked Brand” and “Pincus” in the University Center Cinema.

It is the hope of all involved with Communication Week that students who participated in the various events throughout the week gained a greater appreciation of communication and journalism in general.