March 18, 2013

Why YOU should live in the CCI Commons!

– Written by: Wyana Wright

My name is Wyana Wright and I’m a sophomore majoring in broadcast

journalism. I’m also one of the Student Leader’s in Olson Hall. My job requires me to

interact with the students in the commons, recruiting incoming freshman into the

Commons and helping in any other way possible around the community. I’ve been living

in Olson for two years now & it’s been nothing but a blast for me. I remember move in

day walking around like a chicken with its head cut off trying to find someone who could

connect my laptop to the Internet. The staff was very friendly & welcoming to me and

from the day on I knew I chose the right place. I originally chose Olson because I was

very shy being an only child and I wanted to live in a small place and interact with less

people. I know it sounds weird that I tried to shy away from people being journalism

major, but it definitely didn’t work! Olson is a communication dorm meaning we all love

talking and I made tons of friends that very first day. I truly believe living in a learning

community is a great investment for incoming freshman and beyond. Yes, I’ll be the first

to admit that living in the freshmen dorm sounds fun, but I’ll also admit that living in a

learning community is much more beneficial. Not only is Olson a fun place to live, but

also it’s a great transition from high school. Olson is the only dorm that offers evening

activities and lunches, with free food provided almost every Wednesday. The activities

are always a blast, but you usually learn so much from them. Between guest speakers,

lunches with the dean, festivals and murder mysteries there’s never a dull moment in the

Commons. In other dorms you won’t get the help and support you need being in a very

big and new place. The staff in Olson is here to make sure you succeed and make life-

long connections. Living in Olson you get the benefit of having smaller class sizes with

only people who live inside the commons. I found this very useful as a freshman, because

it’s a great way to know who’s living in your dorm and to make not only life –long

friends, but study partners as well. Olson also offers study groups, which is another great

way to meet people. I plan on living in Olson for my JR year as well because I’ve grown

so much living here and Olson really feels like a home away from home to me. The

location is also great we’re the closet dorm to all of the buildings where many classes are

held and I can’t say I don’t love that. You’re around people with similar interest as you at

all times which is great because it’s easier to bond with people you share common

interest with. If you want to begin to make investments into your future I promise Olson

is the place to start.


November 16, 2012

What is this VCD I’ve been hearing of?

What VCD Is

So you want to become a VCD major, eh? Awesome! A very good choice. But many students, such as myself back when I was a freshman, come in virtually blind as to what VCD actually means and what they will be getting out of it. (This makes it hard to justify to your parents why VCD is an acceptable choice, doesn’t it?) 

So let’s clear a few things up, shall we? The following breakdown of “VCD” will tell you what a graphic designer is and what you should expect to be doing as a VCD major.

  1. V=Visual
    I think most interpretations of VCD start here: “Graphic Design. That means I’ll be making things!” This is very true; indeed, as a VCD student, you will be making things. Here at Kent, you will be introduced to many different kinds of “making things,” including posters, books, booklets, packaging, mailers, websites, animations, page layouts, illustrations, photography, etc. In VCD you will surely develop a wide variety of “making” skills, as well as design principles to sharpen your aesthetics. However, while most interpretations of VCD start here, they often end here as well, but VCD is so much more than just “making things.”
  1. C=Communication
    The “communication” aspect of VCD is what starts to separate graphic design from fine art, and thus why Kent’s VCD program is within the College of Communication and Information (CCI) as opposed to the College of Arts. While the pieces are visual, they are created to communicate some sort of idea, concept, or information. Graphic design pieces have a specific purpose and often a specific audience that they are trying to reach, and it is up to the designer to figure out the best way to communicate properly.
  1. D=Design
    So you have information that needs to be communicated, you know there is an audience that needs to be communicated to, and you know that it is your job to create a visual piece to communicate with. So how do you achieve this? By designing it, of course! The most frequently unknown part of being a graphic designer/VCD student is that research is involved. A designer must know the who/what/where/when/why/how of both the target audience and the client before they can create an appropriate solution. After finding this information, THEN a designer can begin to create a piece that communicates visually. This is what really separates VCD from fine arts: while a fine arts piece is whatever the artist wants it to be or feels like, VCD is a carefully planned and crafted piece that is specifically made for a certain audience so that they can efficiently gather information.

In conclusion, Kent’s VCD program is fantastic. If you are considering VCD but have never been acquainted with design before (as was my case, when I was a freshman), you should not be overly concerned because Kent’s VCD program starts with the basics and builds a great foundation. It is a rigorous program, but as long as you are willing to put forth the effort to build on your skills and improve, you can consider the VCD program a fitting option for you!              

October 16, 2012

Education: Mechanical or Meaningful?


Education as a Machine

Historically, we have thought of education as a machine, and we have designed it like we design machines. A machine typically has the following characteristics:

-It’s designed to be controlled by a driver or operator.
-It needs to be maintained, and when it breaks down, you fix it.
-A machine pretty much works in the same way for the life of the machine. Eventually, things change, or the machine wears out, and you need to build or buy a new machine.

A car is a perfect example of machine design. It’s controlled by a driver. Mechanics perform routine maintenance and fix it when it breaks down. Eventually the car wears out, or your needs change, so you sell the car and buy a new one.

And we tend to design education the way we design machines: We need the company to perform a certain function, so we design and build it to perform that function. Over time, things change. The educational function grows beyond a certain point. New systems are needed. Customers want different products and services, so we need to redesign and rebuild the machine (aka education), or buy a new one, to serve the new functions.

This kind of rebuilding goes by many names, including re-organization, reengineering, right-sizing, flattening and so on. The problem with this kind of thinking is that the nature of a machine is to remain static, while the nature of education is to grow. This conflict causes all kinds of problems because you have to redesign and rebuild the company while you also need to operate it.

So what is the answer? Only you can decide. Take the time to truly evaluate what YOU want out of your education and where you want it to take you. Don’t fall into redundancy and subtle nuances. Seize the opportunity to control your education and attain the life and career goals you have always aspired. Make your education meaningful.

March 8, 2012


It’s that time of year again, folks. It’s time to figure out where you’re living in the fall.

If you’re going to be a junior or a senior, your options are bountiful. You can live on campus again, rent an apartment or rent a house. A good idea might be to contact Student Legal Services when looking for a place to live. They can inform you of tennent rights and help you navigating through contracts. You pay $9 a year for this service (it’s part of your tuition unless you waived it) so making an appointment and seeing them won’t cost you a single cent more. You don’t have to do anything with the university if you’re not coming back to campus, just check out at the end of the semester. You’ve fulfilled your living requirement.

What living requirement?

As an incoming freshmen when you register for housing the first time, you sign a contract stating you will live on campus for two years (your freshmen and sophomore year.) The only way you can get out of the contract is if you have more than 30 credit hours. Residence Services also has a few options in case your finances change, you have a medical condition or are becoming a commuter, but you must prove that to Residence Services before you will be allowed out of the contract. Be very weary of these rules. This contract is legally binding, and you can be sued for breaking it, especially if you lie. DO NOT SIGN ANYTHING BEFORE TALKING TO RESIDENCE SERVICES FIRST. Just because you think you can get out of something doesn’t mean you will. You’ll be stuck having to pay for both a dorm room and an apartment if things don’t go the way you planned.

If you are not eligible to live off campus, you must register to live in the dorms again. You must pay a $200 matriculation fee before you pick your room. This $200 comes off your bill for the fall semester, so you’re not paying anything extra. It’s sort of like a security deposit to hold your spot. Once you pay, you just have to register for a room.

The time to do Same Room/Same Hall if over, so you need to follow the schedule set by Resident Services. They’ll tell you when you can register on the website after you pay your matriculation fee.

Of course we want you to live in the Commons again, but you don’t have to. When choosing another hall, make sure you look at their rules. Some are only for upperclassmen. Some dorms are wet dorms, so they have an age requirement. You cannot live at Eastway if you’re not an incoming freshman, Lake if you’ve declared a major or Stopher-Johnson unless you’re honors. Also be aware certain halls, such as Centennial C and Englemen, fill up really fast. Consider having a back up plan. You can look at all the dorm options on the Resident Services website. They also have mock rooms set up over at Eastway.


Happy home hunting!

February 16, 2012

Ledion and Kelly visit, talk about “The Avengers”

Last week, two CCI alums came to talk to us. They both graduated within the last year or so with majors in electronic media production. Both had the opportunity to work on major motion pictures. They both worked on “I, Alex Cross,” and Ledion got to work on “The Avengers.” They told us what their jobs were like. Kelly was an office PA so she talked about traveling back and forth to Detroit during filming because they had some shots there they needed to do, and they needed an office. Ledion worked as an office PA for a while as well, but he also got to do some work setting up cameras. Both jobs sounded pretty interesting. Part of their jobs as office PAs meant they had to go pick up the stars of the movies from the airports and bring them around places. Ledion said he even had to help Matthew Fox set up his GPS in Cleveland! They both held on to a lot of the paperwork they had during their time on set, something they urged all future EMP students to do once they start really working.

Another thing they talked about was how to get these jobs. One thing they said was to join a local film commission. They are both members of the one in Cleveland. A good point they made was that you need to network. Kelly got her job through someone she worked with once, and Ledion got his job on “I, Alex Cross” through Kelly! Ledion also suggested looking at Craig’s Lists ads.* He got to go to the past Super Bowl in Indianapolis and work at a party hosted by Rolling Stone magazine by doing that!


*Disclaimer: Although Ledion had success on Craig’s List, the internet can be a dangerous place. Be careful when looking for jobs off of a site like that!

February 16, 2012

February info-tainment in the Commons

For the month of February, we had a few programs where we had our own CCI faculty as guests. One was a lunch where faculty members came and hung out with all of us over here. We talked about classes, advice on picking up a major and other random small talk.

Last night’s program featured one of our professors from the journalism department, Tim Roberts. One of the first required courses for all journalism majors in media writing. In the class, you learn the basics about AP style and how to write for various media. Students are also required to take the Grammar, Usage and Punctuation test (The GUP.) Most of our students in the Commons are freshmen and sophomores so the GUP is upon them. Many of our students have their first round taking the GUP at the beginning of next week. Tim has a great track record with students passing the GUP, so we thought it would be a good idea to bring him in for a crash course in grammar. It was great! He made PowerPoints for our students to study from and had great handouts for them to take as well. There were some grammar rules he had tricks before that I wish I had known when I was taking the test my freshmen year.


January 26, 2012

Book Club

This semester, our student leader spearheaded a book club! Over break, she announced our first book would be Room by Emma Donoghue. Last night we were finally able to meet over a tray of macaroni and cheese from Acme and discuss the book. Here is Kristen’s review of the book and the night:

Room opens up to the reader slowly. Rather than introduce the reader to a situation outright, the author, Emma Donoghue, instead introduces you to the young boy who is narrating his story. His name is Jack, and he is celebrating his 5th birthday in the only home and room he has ever known. As his story progresses the reader is informed of things that Jack does not realize. He reveals parts of his life that he assumes are normal, but the reader knows these situations actually threaten his and his mothers’ lives. His voice is what gives this novel its unique perspective, and I can say that I have never read another book like this.

Going into anymore detail could potentially ruin the outcome for readers still perusing Room’s pages. But I can say that book club was a success. We had a lively discussion, mostly thanks to Norman Mallard, a graphic designer who we were lucky enough to coerce into reading this novel with us. We discussed everything from symbolism to our own ideas of childhood lost.

Room is much more than just a novel about a young boy’s story of capture and freedom. It also tells of a mother’s grace and unyielding love. Everything about this novel was truly unique, from the perspective it was told to the situation the characters found themselves in. I found myself unable to put it down and I would not be surprised if you felt the same way.

January 19, 2012

CCI family dinner

Last night, we had our first mentor dinner. We didn’t have the greatest turn out ever, but people did come, and I think everyone enjoyed themselves.

We went to the Eastway cafeteria. They had a really good selection of food from stir fry to lasagna to a baked potato bar. Everyone was able to find something to eat, which can be a task and a half when dealing with two people let alone nine.

Our dinner conversation was quite simple, but everyone had something to say, even if they were a little shy at first. A few of our Commons veterns came along as well, and their input was very beneficial to the mentees.

Here is our “family” photo from last night. You be the judge of how it went!

Everyone was all smiles after eating a wonderful dinner at Eastway!

January 13, 2012

The first week of a new semester

Happy New Year!

The Spring semester started on Monday, January 9. Campus filled up with students, faculty and staff again. The sun was shining, and it wasn’t even too cold. It was almost the perfect day. I say almost because the beginning of any semester always signifies 15 weeks of hard work to come. College is hard work, but there are a lot of ways to make it a little easier on yourself. Here are our six points for semester success:

1. Budget
Budgeting your time will help with you sleep situation. If you plan out your day, everything you need to do will get done. Plan when you’re going to the gym, eat dinner, study and socialize. Eventually, you’ll fall into a routine, which will make life a little easier. You should also try budget your money. You don’t want to be the kid with no money left on his meal plan or whose credit card gets declined on the night you’re supposed to pay for the pizza.

2. Think of your future self
You never want to be in the situation where you skip an exam because you completely forgot about it, and you don’t want to start studying and realize half your notes are missing. Buy a calendar and record important dates in it. Check it regularly. Also, try organizing your class notes by color. Red = Math, so when you go to math, you just have to grab your red notebook and folder and everything will be there. Each subject should have it’s own folder/notebook or at least have a really strong system to keeping it in its own section.

3. Embrace your books
First of all, buy your textbooks. It’s expensive, but there are a lot of ways to cut costs (, Secondly, crack open these books once in a while. You may think you’ve got the material down but reading the summary won’t hurt. When you read the summary, you’ll be able to gauge if you really grasp it.

4. Consider your load
It may not be the best idea to take 18 credit hours and work 20 hours a week and try to do student media. Be realistic about your schedule. If you’re already having doubts about your workload, it may be best to drop one of your classes or exchange it for an “easier” class. The last day for add/drop is January 22. If you feel confident now but start to slip later on, you have until March 15 to withdraw from a class.

5. Know your options
Typically, people don’t seek help until they need it, so why not beat the curve? Know what’s out there so if you do run into a problem, you’ll already know exactly what to do. The Academic Success Center offers a lot of tutoring programs for many subjects. Their website is Each school in CCI has drop-in advising every Wednesday, and you could always retake a class you failed to try to fix up your GPA.

6. Sleep
If you’re over-tired all the time, you won’t feel like doing anything, and it will only stress you out more. OR you’ll be a grouchy mess all the time and no one will want anything to do with you.


Good luck, everyone! New year, fresh semester.

January 13, 2012

A Message from our Director

Welcome, incoming students!

We’re glad you’ve decided to check out the CCI Commons in Olson Hall. I am Marianne Warzinski, the Academic Program Director for the CCI Commons, and I’m happy to tell you more about our program and my role in leading the community.  The CCI Commons began in August 2005 and since then we’ve been the hub for CCI students living on campus.  We have developed a wonderful community designed to better connect you with your major both academically and socially. Typically we have over 200 members living in Olson Hall who major in JMC (Journalism and Mass Communication), VCD (Visual Communication Design) and Communications Studies. From time to time we even have graduate students from SLIS (School of Library Information Science) who live in our community.

Students in the CCI Commons have the benefit of being able to pick and choose how they’d like to participate in our community. From taking classes together, to attending weekly programs, to working in our design studio and much more, you’ll have the freedom to belong to a strong community, yet have the flexibility to determine your level of involvement.

My role as the program director is to help you succeed in your CCI major.  I have worked for the College of Communication and Information for nine years and can help you with the ins and outs of navigating KSU.    My office is located within Olson Hall to make it convenient to meet with me to discuss your major, career options, grades and other issues that might arise relating to your academic success.  We also have a wonderful hall staff who can assist you with housing-related issues and RAs (resident assistants) who are CCI majors.

There is no separate application or fee to join our community.  Kent State’s Residence Services will post Fall 2012 housing application on line beginning in February.  To apply to live in the CCI Commons in Olson Hall, select “CCI Commons” as your community and “Olson Hall” as your first choice. Please note that in order to participate in the CCI Commons you MUST live in Olson Hall. It is also recommended that if you wish you choose your own roommate that they are also a CCI major who has applied for the CCI Commons as well.

Feel free to check out our website, Facebook & Twitter pages and let me know if I can answer any questions: or 330-672-4467.

Hope to see you in the fall!