Friday, August 18. Clark C142. 9:30 a.m. Communication Studies Ram Welcome.
Dr. Elizabeth Williams and Dr. Greg Dickinson were ready and waiting. A bounty of swag – fresh out of the box CMST fidget spinners, CMST Euro stickers, College of Liberal Arts travel mugs, and CLA notebooks – was arranged on desks. Right on time, Academic Success Coordinator Ella Bower directed into the room an already chatty group of  this year’s newly declared and incoming communication studies majors for their Communication Studies Ram Welcome session.
Students filed into the room, eyes drawn to the swag, and quickly got comfortable showcasing their fidget spinner skills which Dickinson, department chair and professor, referenced in his opening comments. “I know two things about you,” he told the crop ofclass. “You don’t take yourselves too seriously, and you’re not afraid to work hard.”
If the freshman and transfer students had any question about whether or not they made a good choice in declaring communication studies as their major, Dickinson had one clear message to silence their fears. “You have chosen the best major in the WORLD,” he declared at the start of the department’s Ram Welcome session. “WOO HOO!” he cheered, arms up in triumph. Dickinson quickly got a laugh from the group. They were all ears.
“Your story starts here,” Director of Undergraduate Studies Dr. Elizabeth Williams told the students. For the next hour students heard about the characters and opportunities that can play a role in crafting their story as a comm studies major.
Neely O’Connor and Ella Bower, academic success coordinators, told stories of other CMST majors who managed to find their way through the wilderness of undergraduate academic life by staying connected to support services, each other, and their dreams. Current communication studies majors talked about the care and concern department faculty have and place on their students, and the satisfaction they both have for choosing the major. Dr. Julia Krebtan-Hoerhager and two students from this past summer’s Communication in Rome study abroad experience enticed students to step outside their comfort zones and develop cultural sensitivities. Dr. Karyl Sabbath shared the indispensable value of finding an internship, not only for helping land a job out of college, but for building self confidence.
Center for Public Deliberation Program Coordinator Kalie McMonagle and second year graduate student Jed Chalupa introduced students to the idea of becoming a student associate with the CPD. “I wanted to be a part of something bigger,” shared Chalupa, who transferred to Colorado State University and joined the CPD during his time as a communication studies major. Chapula said his experience with the CPD has been, and continues to be, transformational. He has traveled throughout the region and nation, has met government and nonprofit decision makers at all levels, and has crafted a meaningful educational path.
Throughout the morning students also heard from department faculty who couldn’t be in attendance. Williams sprinkled slides with photos and words of wisdom throughout the morning session so that new undergrads could see faces that will greet them in the future, while getting a little advice about how to be successful in school — do your readings, go to office hours from the start of the semester, get to know people different from you and learn their stories, and, buy a stapler.
As the session came to a close there was nothing fidgety about new undergraduate CMST majors. They left the room with smiles on their faces, ready to take on the world.