J-School Generations fosters student and alumni relationships

Posted on Oct 13, 2014 in Alumni News, Campus News, and News

J-School Generations

This year I finally had the pleasure of attending The Challenge Project at J-School Generations during Homecoming Weekend, Sept. 25-27.

The annual challenge event begins by grouping J-School students and alumni into teams and poses just that—a challenge requiring the group to collaborate and create a solution.

“The point of the challenge project is to create fun solutions to industry-related challenges,” says Patty Noland, career development coordinator and lecturer and chair of J-School Generations committee. “It’s a chance for students and alumni to work as a team.”

Each team consists of a handful of students and alumni, along with a J-School faculty member. Our faculty member, Matt Tidwell, lecturer at the Edwards Campus, did an excellent job of mediating just enough to organize our ideas while allowing the entire group to participate.

“Our challenge was to remake the J-School for the next generation of communicators, “ says Gene King, j’90, g’02, director of media relations at H&R Block. “Today’s journalism is not the same as it was 20 years ago. Today…everyone is a journalist.”

The groups broke off and spent the morning brainstorming and collaborating. Eventually our alumni let their ideas rest and allowed the students to do all the talking—literally. The students joined together to build an original presentation and video to showcase our ideas to the rest of the teams.

“Each person had a unique perspective that allowed us to create a brand new education structure, shoot a video and build a presentation in just a few hours,” says Justin Christian, senior. Last year, Christian’s challenge project solution actually came to life.

J-School Generations Group

But most participants agree that during J-School Generations and the challenge sessions, something else takes shape by design—a budding network between students and alumni.

“Students have the opportunity to actually network and speak with alumni,” Noland says, “and alumni can pass on their wisdom and insights to current students.”

I’ll speak for my group of alumni: our students were well-informed and inventive, and I suspect most alumni would agree. It’s refreshing to work with students who are truly interested in improving their setting and have practical concepts to make it happen.

“I enjoy experiencing the passion the students have for learning,” King says. “That is contagious.”

View the presentation our students put together.

— Kara Schwerdt, j’10, digital media & marketing coordinator

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