Podcasts help keep parents ‘in theLoop’

By Kaiti Deerberg

Columbia is planning to use new multimedia applications to keep parents informed and connected to the college’s campus and student body.

Mark Kelly, vice president of Student Affairs, released an announcement in October on the Columbia website about a new plan to create monthly podcasts geared to parents of Columbia students.

The project is a supplement to the new “parent” section of theLoop that aims to keep parents updated on events taking place at the college.

Kelly said the podcasts are still in production, but he expects a positive response from parents and students alike.

“Our monthly parents newsletter has been really successful and we’ve gotten positive feedback from it,” Kelly said. “We are expecting the same reaction for the podcasts.”

TheLoop has recently initiated a monthly parent newsletter that parents can subscribe online to receive updates on campus life. The newsletter began two months ago and has seen a steady increase in subscribers.

“We are aiming to have our first podcast ready to go next semester,” said Tara Vock, event coordinator for Columbia, who is also spearheading the project.

Details of the project are still being worked out as administrators explore topics and formats for the podcasts, Vock said. The team is also collaborating with people in the Radio Department to complete the initiative. The podcasts are planned to be 15-20 minute long audio segments and will feature interactive conversation.

“We are planning on having two hosts, one being Mark Kelly and possibly David Berner of the Radio Department,” Vock said. “Each month we plan to invite a special guest from the school to discuss a topic that concerns students and parents with the hosts.”

The podcasts would help bring life to the issues, opportunities and events taking place at Columbia for parents back home, Kelly said.

Kelly said topics will include initiatives and events on campus, as well as trends on campus and student portfolios.

Kelly also said he plans to work with the counseling services at Columbia to put together a podcast on the topic of counseling and resources on campus.

Vock said they plan to use the monthly newsletter to promote the podcasts and urge parents to check out Columbia’s multimedia efforts.

Some students are apprehensive about the new podcasts.

“It’s think it a really good idea for parents of freshman.” said Katie Bidkowicz, junior journalism major. “However, I would be scared it would give my mother another reason to meddle in my business. I am sure she would call and ask why I wasn’t doing ‘this’ or ‘that’ on campus.”

The podcasts and newsletters are both aimed at keeping parents involved in the Columbia community. Kelly said they want to cover issues that are relevant to both parents and students of Columbia.

“I think parents are very interested in what is happening here at Columbia, they want to be involved in the community,” Vock said. “This is a great way for them to be a part of campus and stay in touch with Columbia and its students.”