COMM Week recap: four days filled with connections and competitions!
The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay’s annual COMM Week took place April 3rd through the 6th, with opportunities for students to showcase work and skills. 2023 marks the 6th annual COMM Week since the inception of the event in 2017. The fun kicked off on Monday with daily events for students to socialize and network, and wrapped up on Thursday with the banquet. The CEO of UNICEF USA, Michael J. Nyenhuis, made an appearance as the banquet’s keynote speaker. COMM Week’s co-directors and team members worked hard throughout the year to ensure the success of each event.
Co-director, Sarah Hart explained how the COMM Week team helped alleviate some of the workload when it came to coordinating events. “We had teams that were specifically assigned to each event throughout the week. They were able to take care of things like event set-up, so it was a lot less for us co-directors to have to worry about,” Hart said.
The first event of the week, “COMM Get Coffee”, was an opportunity for Communication students to come and meet peers within their major, Later that night, ”COMM Together” took place in the MAC Winter Garden. At this event, students from other clubs and organizations across campus came to discuss how communication has helped them personally. Tuesday’s event was ”COMMplete Your Portfolio”, which gave students the opportunity to receieve valuable advice on crafting resumes, cover letters, and LinkedIn profiles. ”WelCOMM to the Jungle” took place on Wednesday, and was a social event for Communication majors and non-Communication majors to play games, enjoy snacks, and listen to the campus radio station, Radio GBX.
“I thought it had the best turnout, and it was a ton of fun to decorate and set up,” Hart said, reflecting on the final event before Thursday’s banquet. Hart, alongside her co-director Daniel Bestul, worked hard to plan the week’s banquet and competitions.
On Thursday, April 6th, there were three competitions before the banquet. In the 3x3x3 event, students showcased group projects from one of the many communication classes offered at UW-Green Bay. The premise of the event is converting a presentation into a trifold to present to a panel of three judges. The students are given three minutes to present the material, and six minutes for a Q&A. The next event was the film competition. Students are encouraged to submit work from a class or from their own personal work, with a limit of up to three minutes. All work must be original. The last competition was the Meet the CEO competition. Students that choose to participate in this event are emailed three different prompts 48 hours in advance. Competitors find out their prompt when they walk into the competition, and have five minutes to respond, followed by five minutes of Q&A.
Hart explained how challenging it was contacting people for the event. “Genuinely, I’d say the most challenging part of the process was the sheer amount of people that we needed to be in constant contact with to make sure things were going according to plan,” said Hart. “ I don’t think there was a single day of the planning process that I had an empty email inbox – I always had at least three people I was simultaneously talking with”. But in the end, the hard work paid off and the team receieved overwhelmingly positive feedback from both students and professors.
Breeze Christian is a Communication student who will graduate this spring. It was Professor Danielle Bina who first introduced Christian to the event, which he considered to be a success, “We saw good attendance in most events and everything we scheduled went as planned. The week ended on a high note as well with the banquet running smoothly and hearing nothing but good feedback from all who attended,” said Christian.
“My favorite part of COMM week was developing relationships with the COMM week team, alumni, professors and other students within the major,” said Christian. “The only thing I would change is slightly altering the times of some events to allow more students to have the chance to attend”.
Phil Clampitt, a professor at the University of Wisconsin – Green Bay, worked closely with students to host this event. Clampitt emphasized that a close attention to detail is neccessary for every aspect of COMM week. Professor Clampitt attended many of the events throughout the week, enjoying the time spent with fellow staff and students.
“I was going to play corn hole at the Wednesday event but I saw all the talent in the room and decided to yield to the pros,” Clampitt laughed. His favorite part of the week was the competitions, especially Meet the CEO and the banquet.
Clampitt explained that when recommends students for competitions, he mainly looks for students with high quality projects and a yearning for continuous improvement. He even met with some of the alumni who helped judge the competitions and participated in the competitions in the past.
“Our alumni provide a vital connection to opportunities in fields where our students often start their careers,” said Clampitt. “It’s a great event with lots of leadership and PR opportunities for our students. It can help them hone their skills as well as develop great stories to share with potential employers. The faculty are very proud of how the entire team collaborated with a range of people with various viewpoints, showcasing the wide range of emphases offered in the program, including OrgCom, PR, social media, and media”.
During the competitions on April 6th, Sydney Gang, a senior majoring in Business Admin, participated in the Meet the CEO competition and won. “I really enjoyed the competition more than winning it. It was a cool concept and really helped improve my communication and problem solving skills,” Gang said. “COMM Week helped me learn more about the communcation program and exposed me to a number of great individuals I was able to network with. I also learned to over prepare, be confident, and be ready to think on your feet”. During COMM Week, Gang attended Comm Together, Commplete Your Portfolio, and the banquet.
Josh Buntin, a junior in the Communication program, competed in the Film Festival competition during COMM Week. Buntin said he had heard of the film festival competition prior to competing, but didn’t enter until this year when he was encouraged to enter by fellow peers. Buntin was exstatic to find out he had won, “I was very surprised when I heard I had won. I’ve never entered a film festival before, and it was very surprising to learn something I made had won an award”.
Buntin’s video was about the planned demolition of the Cofrin Library and the Cofrin Technology & Education Center. Buntin heard about the plan in 2021 and he was still interested, so he decided to make a video about it. He was just glad to take part in COMM Week. “I entered primarily because of the encouragement from my peers, and I also just thought it would be fun take part in COMM Week, even if I didn’t win,” Buntin said.
Frankie Breit, a junior within the Communication program, was present at all of the COMM Week events throughout the week. Breit’s favorite event aside from the banquet was the WelCOMM to the Jungle event. “I got to hang out with fellow students and professors in an informal environment,” Breit said. “It was great to play games, eat snacks, and just enjoy my time”. The banquet proved to be the most influential for Breit. At the banquet, keynote speaker Michael J. Nyenhuis spent time talking about how his time at UW-Green bay led to his success at UNICEF USA. “The guest speaker, Mr. Nyenhuis, taught me a very valuable lesson,” said Breit. “My future is out there. I will find what I want to do, and I will be happy. Though things aren’t already clear, life will work itself out in the end”.
While COMM Week is a great way for students to network and socialize, there is a lot of work put into making the week a success. Daniel Bestul served alongside Sarah Hart as Co-Director of COMM Week for the first time this year. Last year, he was the videographer for COMM Week, putting together a promotional video and recap video. As co-director in 2023, Bestul saw all of the work that’s required for the week to run smoothly.
“There are a lot of tasks to take care of and plan for,” explained Bestul. “A lot of event planning, email and communication had to take place for this week-long event. I do think that COMM Week was a success and the banquet to topped it off. Seeing friends, family and professors come out and see what the students put on is pretty cool”.