By Isabel Smith
The Arts and Communication Department held a conference on Oct. 24 to announce the launch of the College’s new digital platform, ArtsComm Digital. It is a new resource for members of the community to view and showcase the projects that students have been working on.
With Tom McCarthy (‘90), a broadcaster for the MLB, right there to introduce it, the announcement of the newest platform came at a perfect time. Maurice Hall, the dean for the School of Arts and Communication, accompanied McCarthy and spoke on the aim of the platform.
“At a time where we can’t be together in a way that we would like, what if we shifted where the audience?” Hall asked. “What if we took what we would normally do in person and bring it to an audience at home?”
During the launch event, several students and alumni spoke about their experiences at the College. McCarthy himself called upon memories of his time as a student, saying he started off as a biology major, and “a rather bad one,” he said.
According to McCarthy, it wasn’t until someone suggested he transfer to the School of Arts and Communication that he actually took the leap. He then started writing at the Trenton Times, but never could have imagined being a broadcaster, let alone surpassing twenty years with the MLB.
Some panelists still have a few more years to go before they leave the College, like Michael Condiracci, a junior communications major, who said his favorite part about the creation of projects was “seeing the widespread distribution to the TCNJ community be it online across, social media and to outside sources.”
Katrina Borat (‘20) put together a film called “Tides,” a narrative about what it’s like to be Asian American and the hate crimes involved, especially around the time Covid-19 had struck the U.S. Borat uses tides as a metaphor for the ebbs and flows of the progression and regression of hate.
“Tides was not my original idea,” Borat said. “I had a different idea before the pandemic really hit, and after the pandemic really hit I was sitting at home during quarantine and I was listening to the news and I heard a lot of hate crimes happening against Asian Americans and it made me really upset. After I was upset I realized I could turn this into something more productive.”
She wanted to make something that would make people uncomfortable, but feel it necessary to talk about.
Derek Wan (‘01) went into directing, and spoke about how important going outside the comfort zone at school is.
“I particularly remember the value of the courses that challenged my understanding of storytelling,” Wan said. “Having a point of view and a clear perspective is key to creating any content.”
Along with the panelists at the launch came a surprise performance by the College’s chorale ensemble, whose combination of harmonies reached audience members through their screens.
The event transitioned into “In the Hall with Dr. Hall,” where he showed all of what the School Arts and Communication school has to offer. He began by showing the viewers the AIMM building, Mayo Concert Hall and Kendall Hall.
The sections within ArtsComm Digital were narrowed down to featured content, student shorts, music masterpiece collection, recital spotlights and the Lion’s Den. Not only can you find videos in these sections on the new platform, but it also gives access to showcases and links to original web stories written by students.
Then came Tammy Tibbetts (‘07), cofounder and CEO of a nonprofit organization called “She's The First,” which fights for girls around the world to be educated, also spoke at the event.
Tibbets spoke on how a small change can turn into something huge, saying “moments of social change have to be multigenerational.”
For senior Seth Kaliroff, a radio, television and film major at the College, his favorite part was the collaboration with other like-minded students who were just as passionate as he was.
“The power of storytelling with a focus on making a real and lasting social impact is more relevant now than ever,” said Dr. Jeffrey Osborn, the provost and vice president for academic affairs. “Our students, exemplified by the content on this site, intend to use this new platform to emphasize and accomplish just that.”