BY KELBY K. CLARK
Student clubs and organizations at colleges and universities all across the United States have found creative ways to use the Internet and social media to their advantage by promoting their agendas, activities and events.
County College of Morris is no different. The community college now has a more active presence on the Internet than ever before.
In addition to Twitter pages and a number of Facebook groups, CCM has now expanded its online presence with the launch of a blog with contributions from more than 40 active student organizations can use to engage with fellow students and Internet users, informing them of the latest events and opportunities offered at the college.
The blog was launched at the beginning of the spring 2013 semester and is designed and operated by Rick Burchfield, coordinator of communications and college relations. The members of the Film Club make videos for all the clubs that post to the blog, adding to the interactivity of the website.
“We wanted to get out the idea that we’re a club that makes videos, and we wanted to promote other clubs as well,” said Jack Siberine, co-president of the Student Film Club and broadcasting major at CCM. “We wanted to do a blog because everyone has Facebook and that’s all great, but there’s no real way to connect the clubs . . . This was a way to connect the clubs.”
Siberine and Co-President Nick Sangiacomo discussed their desire to promote their club and other CCM clubs, but did not come up with the idea of creating a website right away. The two later spoke with Kathleen Brunet Eagan, the director of communications and college relations, and together the three of them eventually came up with the idea of creating a blog.
It was decided to use WordPress.com, a popular, free blog web hosting service provider. The blog allows students and other readers to interact with the clubs that post onto the site by allowing readers to leave comments on all posts.
Additionally, the website contains features such as a Facebook widget and a sidebar that shows updates from the official CCM Twitter page.
Members of New Social Engine, Student Activities Programming Board and Young Entrepreneurs of America have been active on the blog ever since its inception. At New Social Engine’s most recently events, Free Bowling Night at Rockaway Lanes, members of the Film Club made an appearance and attained some footage of the activity to later put on the website.
“NSE is really taking advantage of it,” Siberine said.
In addition, there are other student organizations active on campus at CCM that believe the blog can help promote their organization and sponsored activities as well, like the Student Government Association.
“A lot of people don’t care to know what we have to offer, they don’t want to become invested in CCM . . . I think it’s a good idea for SGA to use the blog . . . I think if it becomes popular it will help,” said Marianna Borrero, nursing major and president of the Student Government Association at CCM. “I really hope it does well. I’d like to see it succeed for the sake of [the] Film Club and CCM.”
The Film club has expanded its inclusion of student organizations even more by collaborating with the editors of CCM’s award-winning student newspaper, The Youngtown Edition, to write, produce and film news broadcasts to be posted to the blog on a monthly basis.
“I think the news show will be good for the Youngtown because it will showcase our talents not just on paper but from a visual aspect,” said Khushbu Kapadia, editor in chief of The Youngtown Edition. “When people actually look at the blog, they will know that the Youngtown does other things than the newspaper . . . I think the blog is the best way to showcase the Youngtown’s talents.”
The blog already has 10 posts, a few of them posted by the Film Club itself, and as the semester continues, the members of the Film Club are hopeful that there will be many more posts and many more clubs that participate.
“We’ve been proactive, talking to a lot of clubs,” Siberine said.
However, members of the Film Club want the student body to be aware that the website is not solely club-oriented. The Film Club plans to add more to the website, such as a “spotlight section,” said Siberine. The spotlight section will showcase talented individuals such as musicians, comedians, magicians, or members of a band who attend CCM.
If the goals that the Film Club has for the website remain the same throughout the next few semesters, the blog will be an outlet of expression for not only club members, but for all CCM students.
“If you participated or organized a certain event, that’s awesome and people should know that, but my main hope for the blog is to highlight specific students. I haven’t heard CCM’s view on this, but I think it would be awesome for students to use the blog to promote extracurricular activities they are involved in,” Sangiacomo said. “Bands, singing, dancing, art, I feel like a lot of that richness that is generally on college campuses is missing at CCM only because there’s no place to advertise it. That’s what I really want this blog to be.”
The County College of Morris Student Clubs blog can be found at: http://countycollegeofmorris.wordpress.com/