Industry Night amps up format

By BenitaZepeda

As graduating seniors’ college days begin to dwindle, many want just one more opportunity to meet professionals in their field and show off their talent.

This year, the third annual Industry Night events are scheduled for May 11 through May 13, with Manifest and commencement completing the week.  This year’s industry night is unique because it has been reconstructed and expanded into a three-day event.

In the past, Industry Night was a one-night event. However, Tim Long, director of the Portfolio Center, said he worked closely with Mark Kelly, vice president of Student Affairs, to hold the event over three nights so that each of the college’s three schools has its own night. The events are separate from the performance-based Manifest so that the industry professionals do not have to choose between conferring with the students and attending the college-wide showcase.  And, by consolidating the activities of each school’s departments in a single space, both students and professionals can mingle their counterparts in related fields.

“Last year, the events grew so quickly in numbers that we decided we needed to split this into what are actually four events,”

Long said.

The fourth event, which is not part of Industry Night, allows art and creative industry professionals to view various galleries at Manifest on May 14.

The individual nights are organized by industry so professionals can cater to a particular field. Each reception is named according to the types of professionals that should attend. Each night spotlights a different industry: performance, fashion and media art.

The Performance Salon on May 11 is for Theater and Dance students and will be held at the 11th Street Campus, 72 E. 11th St., from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Fashion Nation on May 12 caters to students primarily in Fashion Design and Fashion Retail Management and will be held at Stage 2 in the 618 S. Michigan Ave. Building from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Media Arts on May 12 will is for Television, Film and Video, Radio, Interactive Arts and Media, Journalism and Marketing Communication students. It will be held in the Media Production Center, 1632 S. State St.

Creative Station on May 13 will be for students in Advertising Art Direction, Copywriting, Illustration, Photography, Graphic and Web Design and Interior Architecture. It will be located at the 33 E. Congress Parkway Building from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

The Writer’s Room on May 13 is for students in Fiction Writing, Creative Nonfiction and Poetry from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. with the location still to be announced.

The Art Expo, which takes place on May 14 at Manifest from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., will feature work from students in Fine Arts in various galleries around campus.

Industry Night guests can attend more than one of the six receptions, and students can mingle with professionals or even have a table to discuss their portfolio. There will be panel discussions with industry professionals that will cover issues graduating students need to be familiar with.

Kelly said cooperation from various academic departments and informing graduating seniors about Industry Night is one way this event becomes a success.

“This is so big because it ties us to the industry in a way that hasn’t existed before,” Kelly said. “We had 600 industry professionals last year, and I don’t want to predict this year, but it’s going to be a lot more because we have far more cooperation with departments and faculty.”

Many faculty members are encouraged to use their connections in the field to invite professionals to Industry Night.

Having departments collaborate is a delicate process, Long said.

“There is a tension between the departments and the schools at the college wanting to bring all their contingencies together in a single sort of unit and presentation,” Long said. “There is a tension between that and our desire to set up industry night in a way that better represents the industries.”

Long said very few professionals work in one discipline, and the point for restructing the event is to allow professionals to see all the talent that would fall in their areas

of expertise.

Another new addition is using the MPC for various film majors.

“The school and those departments are very excited about it,” Long said.  It’s a first-class facility, and there is a lot of energy around it. They are proud of it, and they are excited to use it and show it off a little bit to the kinds of professionals that they would like to be interested in their programs and the college themselves.”

Len Strazewski, associate professor and spring 2010 acting chair of the Journalism Department, said there was discussion about how they were going to combine journalism with other writing majors.

“As far as I know, TV and journalism are going to be in adjacent rooms, which creates a nice synergy, particularly for the broadcast journalism students,” Strazewski said. “There is so much media convergence these days.”

Long said students can go to the Industry Night Web site to sign up for their spot. They are also allowed to attend more than one event—all they need is an invitation. Each department will have an Industry Night prep session, the dates of which will be sent out in the senior newsletter.

Long also said Industry Night is a good way to create bonds between professionals

and Columbia.

“We bring a lot of people on campus that have never been here before and they come here and are always impressed with our students,” Long said. “It sort of expands Columbia’s sphere of influence into the professional communities and it’s a pretty powerful thing.”