COMS Week gives students practical experience

COMS Week logo
The COMS Week logo.

To turn classroom experience into practical experience, students in the School of Communication (SOC) create, plan and design COMS Week, a week dedicated to the profession of communication.

Students in Strategic Event Planning are divided into groups that mirror an actual agency. The four groups cover the philanthropy, guest speakers, carnival and social media pages for the weeklong event spanning April 9-14.

“The exercise of event planning has helped me as a student by preparing me for other activities and events I have to plan since I am a member of different organizations,” said Grace Milauskas, who is working on social media for the event. “It has taught me how to plan and budget time better, and create realistic goals and objectives when planning these events.”

The entire social media team applied professional principles when starting and running the social media pages.

COMS Week staff
The students in the Strategic Event Planning course, who are the ones behind COMS Week.

“We are highlighting parts of the university with our social media campaign since this will engage more people,” Milauskas said. “We share content of our Radford affiliates since they share our content. This opens a relationship between our organizations since we are still growing our follower base and it allows us to reach additional people.”

Working on a social media campaign has given Milauskas clarity on her career goals. “I like running a social media campaign,” she said. “I now know what I want to do after I graduate.”

For senior Matt Cook, organizing the activities of the speakers during COMS Week has been an eye-opening experience.

“It has been truly exciting for me to help develop and create COMS Week,” Cook said. “This opportunity is a great way to figure out where my strengths are and where I need to improve as a Public Relations practitioner.”

Giving back to the community

Following COMS Week tradition, participants will support the Bobcat Backpacks Program, an organization that helps City of Radford students by providing necessary food items.    

“The Bobcat Backpacks Program was chosen by Hannah Shouse, who is from this area and saw first-hand how the program helps local children,” said instructor Kathleen Degnon. “It's a great way to give back to our great community.”

COMS World – the theme of the 2017 COMS Week – has the capstone carnival from 8 p.m. – 12 a.m. on April 13. The carnival is sponsored by Lambda Pi Eta.

Alumni return to campus

The preparation of creating COMS Week gives students a taste of what the profession is like after graduation by having alumni and faculty of the School of Communication speak and work with students at the event.

“The return of so many alumni who willingly participate in COMS Week truly speaks to the community and professionalism that is conducted by the School of Communication and its faculty,” Cook said. “These professionals have taken the time out of their schedule to come back and pass along their knowledge and experiences all because of the pride and honor associated that comes with being a Communication Major and Radford University Alumni.” 

COMS Week Schedule

All events are in the Bonnie Auditorium unless otherwise noted.

April 9

  • To Infinity and Beyond: Space Race 5K - Bonnie Plaza, 11 a.m. - 1 p.m.

April 10

  • Like What You Do, Do What You Like: Career Advice from a TV and Radio Expert - Dave Parker ‘89, US106.1 radio host, 10-10:50 a.m.
  • Don’t Be a Guppy: Animation Smack down - Matt Smith, SOC director, Matthew Turner, SOC associate professor, Michael Meindl, SOC assistant professor, West Bowers, SOC assistant professor, and Justine Jackson '13, Department of English adjunct faculty member, 2-3:30 p.m.

April 11

  • The Bare Necessities: Working for a Nonprofit Organization - Bobcat Backpacks Program, Jenny Riffe MS '03 and Jane Fisher, and Lunch Pail Defense, Jim Tynan and Danny Nokes, from 9:30 – 10:45 a.m.
  • Tale as Old as Time: Nostalgia and Fandom - Keynote speaker Christina Beck, president of the National Communication Association, 11 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.
  • Reach for the Sky: Applying Your Media Studies Degree - Steven Cropley '16, eSports writer and on-air talent, Christian Compton ’13, assistant negotiator at Hearts & Science, Emelie Gatti, assistant director of marketing and ticket sales at Radford University, and Jack Herron ’14, senior contributor and analyst at Vantage Hoops, 12:30-1:45 p.m.
  • Always Let Your Conscience Be Your Guide: Ethics in Journalism - John Carlin, WSLS 10 anchor, Joe Dashiell, WDBJ7 senior reporter, Todd Jackson, The Roanoke Times New River Valley bureau chief, and Twange Kasoma, SOC assistant professor, 2-3:15 p.m.
  • Much to Be Learned, You Still Have: Get Involved in Highlander Student Media - Daniel Willingham, Maria Uzel, Jack Hambly, Becca Lynch, Reagan Steele, Lyric Roberts, Alexander Burnley and Geoff White, 4-5:15 p.m.
  • One Bite and All of Your Dreams Will Come True - Moe’s Fundraiser, 5-8:00 p.m.

April 12

  • Giving Up is for Rookies: Workplace Dynamics - Cally Smith ’11, vice president of membership and brand strategy at the Roanoke Regional Chamber of Commerce, 1-1:50pm
  • I Want Adventure in the Great Wide Somewhere: PRSSA Resume and LinkedIn Workshop -Lynn Zoch, SOC professor, Teresa Dickens, career advisor, Jennifer Eddy, chief strategist at Eddy Communications Corp, Ben Litvak MS '15, coordinator of student organizations at Radford University, 3–3:50 p.m.
  • If You Are What You Eat, Then I Only Want to Eat the Good Stuff - Benny Nicola’s, 5- 9 p.m.

April 13

  • A Whole New World: Transitioning into the Field of Public Relations - Melissa Brown ’08, MS ’11, associate vice president at 5W Public Relations, 11:15 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.
  • Adventure is Out There: Entering the Fields of Public Relations and Journalism - Dan Waidelich MS ’15, kCura public relations specialist, and Max Esterhuizen MS ’15, public relations writer at Radford University, from 12:30-1:45 p.m.
  • Let’s Get Down to Business: The World of Advertising - Elizabeth Munn-Lively MS ’06, business development specialist at Access, 3:30 - 4:45 p.m.
  • COMS Week Carnival, MAC Court in Student Wellness and Recreation Center, 8 p.m. – 12 a.m.

April 14

  • I Can Go the Distance: Becoming a Strategic Communication Graduate Student - John Brummette MS '03, SOC associate professor and graduate coordinator, Kim Herbert '00, SOC instructor, Andie Fescemyer '14, SOC graduate teaching fellow, Colin Huband '16, SOC graduate research fellow, Stefani Szkalak '16, graduate teaching assistant, and Kristina Contreras '15, graduation coordinator at Radford University, 9-9:50 a.m.
  • Don’t Just Fly, Soar: Communication Week Award Ceremony, 10-10:50 a.m.
  • You Gotta Make It Happen, It All Depends on You: LinkedIn Photo Session - Lora Gordon, photographer at Radford University, 11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.

Apr 3, 2017
Max Esterhuizen