Cameron University held a dedication ceremony for the Academic Commons on Sept. 19. The event marked part two of the Extreme Makeover CU Edition.
The Academic Commons was previously the Clarence Davis Student Union. Some in the community dubbed it “the world’s ugliest building.” Last semester a plan was developed and work began on what is now a fully-renovated building meeting the needs of Greek life and providing for students working and studying in journalism.
“So how do you transform ‘the world’s ugliest building’ and turn it into a vibrant state-of-the-art functional academic building?” President Ross asked. “Well you need a plan, but regardless of how great that plan may be, it cannot become reality without visionary, generous people.”
With donors and a plan in place, everyone went to work on the new building. Contractors began remodeling, students prepared for the move and instructors planned on how to bring both of the media together.
President Ross said: “The facility houses a state-of-the-art computer laboratory, a student tutoring center for multiple academic disciplines, a campus-wide information technology help desk, modern classrooms, and Cameron’s cutting-edge convergence journalism program, uniting Cameron’s print, television and online production capabilities in one location.
Following the introduction from President Ross, CUTV News Producer and News Editor of the Cameron Collegian Tiffany Martinez shared her story of her CU career as well how the building has met the needs of students.
“Upon pressure from two worrisome parents, I enrolled at CU in the summer of 2008 as a Communication Major with an emphasis in Radio/Television,” Martinez said. “It was then that I met my brilliant adviser, Dr. Matt Jenkins.”
Martinez continued by saying her first two years of college were spent getting pep talks from Dr. Jenkins and that those very conversations would motivate her like no other mentor could.
As her journey into convergence continued with the art of broadcast under her belt, she would continue onto the next branch, traditional print journalism.
“In the fall of 2010, I received my first by-line in the Cameron Collegian,” Martinez said. “I must have spelt my name out a million times in the span of 20 years, but never had it read so beautifully.”
As the semesters progressed, Martinez reached her junior year and was faced with a decision on which path of media she should choose.
“I had been carrying on quite the affair between print and broadcast, which have traditionally been on opposite ends of the media spectrum,” Martinez said.
Instead of choosing between print or broadcast, Martinez chose both loves to come together under one roof evolving this academic romance and spreading it to all the students. She said she hopes that future generations of Aggies will also be able to learn skill sets in different areas of media through the growing convergence program.
In the final part of the dedication in true Extreme Makeover fashion, a bus blocked the front of the building and as the crowd chanted “Move That Bus.” The Aggie Bus then drove off, unveiling to the audience the look of the new home of convergence journalism.
The crowd was then invited inside by CU mascot Ole Kim where they were greeted with food and refreshments. The attendees and the regents walked the halls of the new home of convergence journalism to see print and film working side by side.
Attendees witnessed student Jack McGuire, host of The Pickaxe Report, film an episode as other students worked in the control room and operated cameras during the show. Those in attendance also spoke with the newspaper editors in the convergence newsroom as they worked on the layout. for the upcoming issue.