|Feb. 5, 2009
You’d never know it from the outside, but the non-descript trailer is a “learning laboratory” on the inside, giving St. Bonaventure University’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication a “magnet” to attract students “that no other school in the country has.”
Game Creek Video has given the university a television production trailer, originally valued at $5 million when it was designed by Unitel Video in 1988. Game Creek engineer Tom Kline and Buffalo video engineer Paul Halsey visited campus Friday morning to show faculty and students how to operate the equipment on the 48-foot trailer.
Journalism lecturer Paul Wieland invited CBS producer Mark Wolff, father of Alex Wolff, one of Wieland’s students, to serve as a guest speaker in one of his courses. Wieland mentioned that he needed equipment to teach a production course.
“Two weeks later, I get a message from Mark that he not only found some equipment for us, he also found a truck. I thought he was kidding,” Wieland said. “Everybody at the school is just thrilled. What a student magnet this is going to be.
“Our journalism program is pretty strong, but this is the coolest thing. No other school in the country has anything like this. It’s like Santa Claus came.”
Mark Wolff had reached out to Ken Aagaard of CBS Sports, who put in a call to Ray Cantwell at Game Creek Video, who just happened to have a truck sitting around.
“It’s a well thought-out truck that’s exceptionally well designed, but it’s analog SD (standard definition), so we weren’t having any luck selling it,” said Game Creek Video President Pat Sullivan. “Ray came to me and told me about this conversation with Mark Wolff. I know that St. Bonaventure has a pretty active TV-production program. I contacted them, and the truck was on its way.”
In Game Creek’s early years, the company — headquartered in Hudson, N.H. — did a fair amount of work in the Atlantic 10 conference, home to St. Bonaventure.
“We were at St. Bonnie’s a lot, and people were always really grateful to us,” said Sullivan. “Trucks are meant to be used, not sit dormant. It was not a difficult decision.”
Because the equipment on the truck is analog and not high-definition, the value is now about $200,000. But it’s “priceless” as a learning tool for the university, said Wieland, who was more familiar with the donation than he first realized.
“I looked up the specs on the truck and realized I used to direct on that same truck when it was owned by Unitel back in the ’90s,” Wieland said with a laugh.
Built in 1988, the 48-foot double-expando truck was once one of the signature mobile units in the country, taking on big-ticket entertainment shows like the Academy Awards. As a former freelance producer and director — as well as longtime head of the Buffalo Sabres’ television operations — Wieland worked in the truck, among other production trucks, before leaving seven years ago to teach at St. Bonaventure.
Thanks to the gift, two new sports-specific production courses are in the works, Wieland said.
Game Creek has a contract with the Buffalo Sabres, whose home ice is 70 miles north of St. Bonaventure, so an engineer will be able to spend significant time on campus giving Wieland’s team a rundown on the truck. With the equipment already inside, “it could do a college basketball game tomorrow,” Sullivan said.
The truck will be eventually be moved this summer near the Reilly Center, with cables run into the building and out to the athletic fields to facilitate game and event production, Wieland said. The truck should be able to be used for class instruction by the fall.
That equipment includes a Grass Valley 3000 switcher, four hard Ikegami cameras with Canon lenses, three hand-held Ikegami cameras, four Sony W75 Beta decks, a Yamaha 3500 audio console, a Chyron Infinit, and an Abekas DVEous. Wieland hopes the production truck will allow the journalism program’s 295 students to provide content for Time Warner’s Upstate New York sports channel.
“The thrust of the truck would be to provide in standard-def a series of sporting events to Time Warner,” Wieland said. “They don’t do any high-def stuff themselves, so we could actually turn out product and make it a learning laboratory for baseball, women’s basketball, men’s basketball, soccer, lacrosse, and whatever else comes down the pipeline. The kids will be able to learn doing real events, not just theory.”
Wieland will also bring in adjunct professors to teach specific modules on technical production, asking his friends from the Sabres’ production team, for example, to teach one on graphics.
Dan Barry, a New York Times columnist and distinguished alumnus of St. Bonaventure University, will be on campus from Feb. 9-20 as the Lenna Endowed Visiting Professor.
Barry will be speaking at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 11, in Dresser Auditorium located in the John J. Murphy Professional Building. During his visit, Barry will give various classroom and campus lectures and an open address at Jamestown Community College, in that city, the morning of Wednesday, Feb 18.
Barry graduated in 1980 with a bachelor of arts degree in journalism and mass communication and was named the 1994 Alumnus of the Year. He is the author of “This Land,” a well-read weekly feature column that appears every Monday on the first page of the Times national section and takes him to every corner of the United States.
He was on reporting teams that won two Pulitzer Prizes. In 1994, he and four other members of an investigative team for the Providence Journal-Bulletin, in Rhode Island, won a Pulitzer for a series of articles about corruption in that state’s court system. The series led to widespread judicial reform and to the criminal indictment of the state Supreme Court chief justice. In 2002, Barry was a member of The New York Times team awarded a Pulitzer for coverage of the World Trade Center disaster and its aftermath.
Barry has written two books, the first titled “Pull Me Up: A Memoir,” which has been favorably compared to Frank McCourt’s best-selling “Angela’s Ashes,” and the second, which was published a year ago, titled “City Lights: Stories About New York.”
He has been described by Lee Coppola, dean of the Russell J. Jandoli School of Journalism and Mass Communication, as “the best pure writer” to come out of the school’s 60-year program, which has produced four other Pulitzer Prize winners.
Barry has received numerous awards in his career; most recently, he was given Columbia University’s coveted Mike Berger Award for in-depth human interest reporting in 2005.
Of his own writing style, Barry has said, “I try to find the small stories, stories of small and large bonds. What I’m trying to do is slow things down, to give you the chance to wrap your brain around something, to put yourself in someone else’s shoes … I just try to put a face on stories, to capture moments like they’re fireflies.”
The Lenna Endowed Visiting Professorship, established in 1990, is funded through gifts from Betty S. Lenna Fairbank and the late Reginald A. Lenna of Jamestown. It is designed to bring scholars of stature in their field to St. Bonaventure and Jamestown Community College for public lectures.
Hickey Dining Hall at St. Bonaventure University has begun serving up a helping of energy savings and waste reduction with each meal.
St. Bonaventure has joined the growing list of campuses nationwide that have eliminated trays in their dining facilities in a move embraced by conservation-conscious students.
Dining hall trays contribute significantly to the waste stream by encouraging diners to take more food than they can eat and adding to the stack of dirty dishes to be washed after each meal.
Aramark Dining Services, a dining provider at 500 campuses including St. Bonaventure, measured food wasted from more than 186,000 meals served at 25 institutions and found that removing dining hall trays reduced the waste generated per person by 25 to 30 percent.
Aramark had the numbers to support going trayless and campus communities had the resolve. In a survey of more than 92,000 students, faculty and staff at 300 institutions across the country, Aramark found that nearly 80 percent were ready to give up their trays.
St. Bonaventure’s Student Food Services Committee endorsed the move as did the university’s Sustainability Commission, a campuswide group formed to explore ways in which the university can create and maintain a more sustainable environment.
“I think this initiative is great,” said Philip Winger, associate vice president for facilities at St. Bonaventure and chairman of the Sustainability Commission. “This is one of the many ways in which a small change in lifestyle can have an effect on the world that we leave to future generations, not only because of the direct effect on energy and water consumption, but because of the small daily reminder that each of us can make a difference.”
St. Bonaventure entered the trayless era Jan. 19 with the return of students from winter break.
Jackie Martin of Rochester and Jennifer Goris of New York City, both St. Bonaventure freshmen, sat together in the dining hall this week, no trays under their lunch plates. They welcome the switch to trayless dining.
“I didn’t use a tray that much anyway so it really doesn’t affect me, but I haven’t heard many complaints,” said Goris.
“I think it’s effective because people don’t carry as much without a tray and they don’t waste as much,” said Martin. “I also agree that it cuts down on the amount of water and energy wasted.”
Amy Vleminckx, food service director at St. Bonaventure, said the dining hall still offers a small stack of trays as a convenience, but fewer than a dozen trays are now being used in a typical day. “I think students like the idea of participating in a ‘green’ initiative that has personal and community impact,” she said.
Aramark estimates that 50 to 60 percent of its 500 campus dining operations will go trayless this academic year.
The Extraordinary Classroom Experiences Series is a forum for the presentation and celebration of vitally engaging learning environments at St. Bonaventure University. Through this series, University faculty invite the campus community to attend a particular lecture, class exercise, or presentation that exemplifies a faculty member’s passion and expertise.
All events are free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served following each program to encourage continuing dialogue on the subjects. Click here to download a printable .pdf listing of the Extraordinary Classroom Series.
An extensive collection of World War II posters is getting its first public showing in years at St. Bonaventure University’s Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts.
The 62 posters, on loan from Olean Public Library, were produced in the early 1940s by a government information machine trying to rally a nation behind the war effort.
The posters are a fervent call to patriotism, reminding citizens that the success of Allied forces overseas depends on the support and sacrifices of Americans back home. They implore the citizenry to buy war bonds, step up production in the work place, walk instead of drive to conserve resources, and to collect for the war effort everything from tin cans to cooking fat.
That the posters exist at all is due to equal doses of foresight and serendipity.
Produced by the Office of War Information and other government agencies, the posters were distributed to libraries, post offices, schools, factories and other public places, said Evelyn Penman, director of museum education at the Quick Center. “These posters were definitely used,” said Penman. “You can see the holes the tacks left in the corners.”
But whereas most of the distributed posters were likely put up on bulletin boards then later torn down and discarded, these came to the library under the watchful eye of the late Maude Brooks, longtime Olean librarian and city historian who died in 1960.
Brooks would take down the posters, fold them, return them to their envelopes, and file them away. They were discovered in a drawer of a case that was to be auctioned off along with other furnishings after the library moved from the old Carnegie building downtown to its present location on North Second Street in the city in 1973.
Robert Taylor, art director at the library, was a new employee at the time. “I had been around museums enough to know that we should hang onto these,” he said.
He also knew how fortunate the library was to still have them.
“The paper they’re printed on doesn’t appear to be much better than newsprint,” he said. “I don’t think they were ever intended to last beyond the war years.”
As money allowed, the posters were matted and framed. It wasn’t until the early 1980s that they would begin to be displayed at the library, but lack of space made it difficult to exhibit the entire collection.
Lance Chaffee, library director, doesn’t remember a time in his 27-year tenure when all the posters were displayed at once.
“That’s what’s neat about the exhibition at the Quick Center,” said Chaffee, “It’s probably the first chance for someone to see them all.”
The collection includes “The Four Freedoms” series, each illustrated with a Norman Rockwell painting, and “The Five Sullivan Brothers,” a poster paying tribute to five Iowa siblings who were killed in the sinking of the USS Juneau in 1942.
“For me, that poster of the Sullivan brothers – George, Frank, ‘Red,’ Matt and Al – says everything,” said Taylor. “I remember hearing of the loss of the five brothers when I was a child. It’s been the most displayed poster since we’ve been in the present library building.”
To view photos of all of the posters, go to the Olean Public Library Web site at www.oleanlibrary.org and click on “catalogs,” then “art prints.”
The exhibition at the Quick Center runs through April 5. The galleries are open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and from noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
Dr. Claudette Thompson, assistant professor of undergraduate education, co-authored an article, “Infusing Multicultural Principles in Urban Teacher Preparation.” The article is published on pages 86-90 in the Winter 2008-2009 issue of Childhood Education: Journal of the Association of Childhood Education International.
Several hundred area schoolchildren watched their imaginations come to life Wednesday as “Magic Tree House: The Musical” played to two packed houses at St. Bonaventure University’s Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts.
The musical adaptation of Mary Pope Osborne’s popular “Magic Tree House” children’s book series left an impression on young and old alike, said Ludwig Brunner, the Quick Center’s assistant director and director of programming.
“I heard comments from a lot of teachers and children,” said Brunner. “They described it as awesome, wonderful, cool, spectacular.”
It’s no wonder, said Brunner, who noted the Porchworthy Productions presentation is likely “the most spectacular production ever to grace the Quick Center’s Rigas Family Theater. The scope of the production and the technical staging are something we have not seen before. It’s similar to a touring Broadway production.”
Teachers who brought their elementary school students to the show were not disappointed.
“That was absolutely wonderful. It was like a Broadway show,” said Gail Beyer as she counted the heads of her Portville Central School second-graders boarding the bus after the performance.
Added Mary Jo Reed, a third-grade teacher at Allegany-Limestone Central School: “It was awesome. The costumes were great, the music was great – what an opportunity for these kids.”
The book series follows Jack, 8, and his 7-year-old sister Annie on journeys through time and around the world, courtesy of their magic tree house. The series of perennial New York Times best-sellers has sold more than 57 million books in North America alone.
The musical brings some of those journeys to life amid spectacularly colorful scenery, catchy tunes, and imaginative props and effects.
Brunner said he was not surprised that all 321 seats in the Rigas Family Theater were filled for the 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. performances. “We had to turn several schools away,” he said. “The books are so well known to children everywhere.”
About a dozen St. Bonaventure students joined the company as stagehands for the performance.
For information about young people’s performances and other events at the Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts, visit www.sbu.edu/quickcenter.
All SBU faculty, staff and administrators are welcome to Friday Forums.
Date: Friday, Feb. 6,
The Friday Forum is Generously Subsidized by The President’s Office.