Zac Vierra – Co-Editor-In-Chief
Since the program began over five years ago, the Communication Department has improved each year by adding more resources and full-time faculty. The Communication Department will take another step forward next month when it hosts COM Day on March 12 in deWitt Hall.
COM Day will be the first event of its kind at Lasell. Unlike the symposiums that are held at the end of each semester, COM Day will not be focused on displaying the work of students. Instead it will be a day for students to learn from professionals in the field of communications and will also offer ample time for networking.
“This is more like an opportunity to bring people in and help students advance their skills and network,” said Michael Burns, Assistant Professor of Communication. “We are doing this to advance our students’ chances of getting jobs and this is the main purpose behind this day.”
COM Day will consist of a full plate of events for students to attend. The event will start at 9:30 a.m. and will conclude at around 6 p.m. The day will consist of speakers, panels, and a student video contest. Students can come and go as they please throughout the day.
The speakers include Teresa Hanafin, Director of Engagement and Social Media for Boston.com, Jenny Dervin, the Vice President of Corporate Communications at JetBlue, and keynote speaker Alex Jones who is the director of the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard University.
“The speakers we have are really excellent resources to talk to us about what is happening in the communication world and for the students to learn and get into the networking aspect which is a very important still to landing a job,” said Dana Janbek, Assistant Professor of Public Relations.
There will also be a networking session with local employers and a “Life after Lasell” panel consisting of alumni of the communication program. These less formal events allow for students to interact with people working in the communication field.
The video contest will showcase student videos for other students to vote on.
Planning for COM Day started last semester and has been a collaborative effort by all of the full-time faculty in the department. The organization of COM Day has been led by Burns, Janbek, and Luis Lopez-Preciado, all of whom experienced similar COM Weeks while attending schools in the past.
“This is a way for us to do something for our students,” said Burns. “This is almost a way for us to thank our students.”
Although COM Day is planned for communication students, students of all majors are allowed to attend and the hope is that everybody will be able to learn from the event.
“Even if you are doing hospitality and event management or marketing, whatever your field is you really have to know how to communicate effectively,” said Janbek.
“It’s a way for us to really showcase what a communications degree can be used for. I think a lot of people only think of communication in terms of the newspaper and radio or television when really we do a lot of other things besides that. You will notice from our speakers there is a lot more involved to communications than just TV and journalism. So that is another way to get people to get an idea of what we really do around here,” said Burns.
The plan is for COM Day to become an annual event.