By Laura Staples
Freshman year is arguably the most terrifying time in any young student’s life. Moving into a new school with thousands of new faces is enough to make anyone want to turn around and run for the door. Rider University, however, has solutions to that lost, hopeless feeling: an uncountable number of clubs and activities.
The Rider University Network (R.U.N.), television production studio, is one club that keeps its doors wide open for freshmen.
“At a lot of bigger schools it’s harder to get really involved unless you’re upperclassmen,” said senior communications major Michele Graczyk. “But in the TV studio you can get involved as early as your first day of freshman year.”
The studio not only provides a valuable hands-on experience, but also a place for students to grow in their field and in life. Professor Scott Alboum is approaching his sixth year as advisor for R.U.N. One of his favorite parts of the R.U.N. experience is watching the students mature through their activities within the club.
“I see myself not only as the advisor, but more as a mentor and coach to the students,” Alboum said. “I truly value and enjoy interactions with the students.”
Whether you are a freshman or a senior, joining a new group on campus can be intimidating. The Network, however, is a close-knit community always looking for new members. Senior communication major Meg Strahle said her favorite part of R.U.N. is the teamwork aspect.
“Most of us are friends,” Strahle said. “We all have great ideas and want to help each other one way or another with a project.”
As if the benefits of joining R.U.N. aren’t already obvious, the group also travels, enters competitions and produces about five television programs a semester. Since 2008, Rider students have won over 10 awards at the annual National Broadcasting Society competition. Professor Alboum says it is always very motivating for students to compete in NBS because they are competing against and beating larger schools whose reputations are seemingly untouchable.
“R.U.N is on the same playing field as those schools,” he said. “And when the students are successful it builds confidence in their abilities and talent.”
“The NBS conference last year was a great memory for me because Backstage Story was a finalist in the live performance category,” Graczyk said. “Also, in April myself, Professor Scott Alboum, and three other students were granted money from the Finance Board to go to a Broadcasting Education Association conference in Las Vegas.”
This year the members of R.U.N. hope to achieve more success not only on the national level, but on Rider’s campus as well. Any student is welcome to join. The group furthers a student’s knowledge of TV production and offers the opportunity to gain skills. Alboum says that working in Rider’s TV studio sometimes offers more experience than an internship because of the amount of hands-on work the student can complete. Graczyk agrees, saying it has furthered her education specifically in TV because she has now had years of practice working with studio equipment and editing.
Anyone can catch one of the multiple student-produced TV shows either on Channel 100 (campus network only) or on their website, www.rideruniversitynetwork.com. R.U.N holds meetings every Tuesday and Thursday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. when anyone who is motivated, interested and willing to work is invited to attend. Ideas for TV shows come straight from the students, so a large amount of student participation is crucial and encouraged.
“The TV studio’s doors are always open,” said Alboum. “Anyone is welcome.”