The University of West Georgia brings in the 41st annual Media Day, with alumni and professor, Kelly Williams leading this year’s event once again. Williams makes a significant contribution to the university and adds a distinctive twist in order to give students and alumni the best experience.
Williams has been involved with Media Day since she was a part-time employee at the university five years ago, prior to her full-time position. She was a member of the executive committee that helped younger alumni participate in Media Day. This was the start of her journey to becoming the event’s coordinator. It takes several months of diligent work from a team of people for this event to be successful.
“We started planning Media Day at the end of September, beginning of October,” said Williams. “We look at evaluations from the year prior and see what changes we need to make and what those changes are going to look like.”
Media Night is a potential change for the fall semester. This event would replace the luncheon that usually occurs, allowing students to have dinner and connect with fellow students and donors all while celebrating student professional achievement.
Williams’ long association with the university as an alum and faculty member has given her a unique perspective on the event and what other potential changes could be made.
“I just think having those three personas [alum to part-time, and full-time] helps open up to even more ideas and feedback,” said Williams. “It also helps being an alum when it comes time to reach out to networking people. I can hitup all the people I went to class with.”
High expectations are placed on Media Day with numerous keynote speakers and panelists coming to enlighten and inform students about the job market. They also offer advice on how to become the best professional you can be, regardless of their focus in mass communication or even non-Mass Comm majors.
“Over the last few years, it has looked very different since I’ve been in charge,” said Williams. “Last year we started something new, having multiple panels because we want our students to be able to interact with as many professionals as possible.”
The keynote speaker for the day will be Atlanta-based filmmaker Karlyn Exantus Taylor, who has established herself in the business. The day will then transition into panels, with two different panel sessions providing advice to students on what to do in school and what to do after graduation.
“We have a good balance representing all the different concentrations,” said Williams. “We have people who work in Journalism, we have people who work in PR (Public Relations), we have filmmakers and people who do content creation.
“We try to have a good cross section with our panelists so our students can see themselves in the panel,” Williams continued.
Instead of the luncheon, there will be a recession outside in the atrium of the Campus Center, during which the event will shift from panels to networking, with a variety of professionals in attendance.
“We have over 55 networking professionals that have registered plus our student organizations take us up to 60 something tables inside the ballroom for students to walk around and interact,” said Williams.
Students may gain an internship or even a job during the networking session, as some professionals and employers are looking for new candidates. As a result, it is recommended that you bring a resume to hand out to specific professionals. During this time, students will also be able to display previously submitted work, giving professionals a glimpse of the students’ achievements.
“The networking session is kind of like the heart of Media Day,” said Williams.
It is unclear whether this will be Williams’ final year organizing Media Day, as Media Night may become an event. She has, however, made significant progress, and her hard work continues to produce such an excellent large event for the School of Mass Communications and UWG itself.
“I will always be involved somehow in Media Day,” said Williams. “I will continue working on it until there is a new project to work on.
“For the school of Communication, Film, and Media it is our premiere signature event,” Williams continued. “I’m very proud of the work that I’ve done with Media Day.”
Media Day will begin at 10 a.m. on March 8 in the Campus Center Ballroom and conclude at 3:30 p.m. Attendance is open to all students.
“This event is known for bringing a lot of people back to campus and bringing new people to campus to show off the gem that is University of West Georgia,” said Williams. “It’s always been a great event, but my goal is to push to top tier excellence.”