Behind the Scenes: Student Worker has Amazing First Week [VIDEO]

Dr. Jeff Hand and Rowan Mascot Whoo RU

Being a brand new student worker for this blog presents many opportunities for me to experience real-life jobs within my field such as interviewing people, becoming a photographer and editing photos, publishing my own articles and working with a team to generate content for the blog. Being a public relations major, it’s great that I get the chance to dabble in these fields and improve my skills, making myself more well-rounded and experienced when it comes time for applying for internships and full-time jobs. With this student worker job, my skills are put to the test, and I’m finding out my strengths and weaknesses either the easy or hard way. Working on campus means that my job understands that school comes first, and I appreciate that mindset and the flexibility to schedule my hours in a way that helps to keep me focused on my goals, while also supporting my professional growth.

Prize winner Sha holds balloons, standing with mascot Whoo RU.
Way to go, Sha!!!

On my first day of the job, I mentioned to my boss that a recent Rowan graduate created a music video at graduation and it went viral. She hadn’t seen the video, so we pulled it up and watched it together. From there the idea sparked that we just had to interview and write something about this kid. I reached out to Sha and set up an interview and photoshoot for the very next day! Talk about a productive first day of work.

Once I informed my boss about Sha and his achievements, this sparked yet another idea. We had heard that the Rowan University Alumni Association was going to award Sha with the grand prize for the #Rowan17 commencement contest, based on his awesome video – why not capture the magic on video of giving him his prize, as its own story?

And then … the surprise planning begun.

I already interviewed Sha on campus, how could I get him back to surprise him with this incredible achievement? Collaborating with my boss, we came up with the idea that I would ask Sha to meet me in the Student Center under the guise that I needed more photos for my story.

Mascot Whoo RU stands with hands in the air as Cristin helps to pull the oversized shirt off his head.
Mascot for the day, Steve Pollock, gets a little help from my boss Cristin to get out of the costume.

At noon on the day we were meeting, the Rowan mascot, Whoo RU (who, that day, happened to be another brand new summer advertising intern and co-worker of mine, Steve Pollock) sauntered up to Sha, clutching a bouquet of balloons, a Rowan bag of prizes and a congratulatory sign. This prize was no joke – Sha won Rowan gear, an Apple iPad, a $150 gift card and a $500 airline gift card. The idea behind the prize is to congratulate a brand new graduate and new alumni association member by celebrating their new Rowan degree and telling them that it can take them anywhere.

My co-worker Steve looked cool as a cucumber, though I learned after that he was sweating bullets inside that owl costume. Even on a 60 degree day, the heavy costume heats up quickly. In all, Steve was in the costume for 45 minutes, declared that it was really smelly in there and was so glad when it was over. Internships are important. Steve now knows that he does not want to have a future career as a mascot. He was a champ for donning the outfit, and did it with a smile. In the field of communications, which we are both studying, you never really know what each day may entail!

I feel so honored to have presented Sha with this grand prize and I’m thrilled that I brought up his music video on the first day of work, because after meeting and talking with him for hours, Sha is definitely most deserving of this award. It’s crazy how much of an impact I have being a student worker. I get to express my own ideas and I have the privilege to roll with any story that pops up on campus. It’s always new, exhilarating and a little nerve-racking chasing my own leads, but once I get a few under my belt, I’ll feel more confident to pursue story ideas at Rowan.

I’m so excited that there are professional development opportunities right here on campus, where I can grow my skillset, earn money and still stay super focused on my schoolwork, which is my number one priority. Look out, this upcoming year is going to be full of fresh, new stories. Keep an eye on the Rowan blog to stay in the loop!

Story and photography by:
Vanessa Vause, junior
public relations major and advertising minor

Video courtesy of the Rowan University Alumni Association

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