CMST students create a user’s guide to success at Temple

A School of Media and Communication class was  asked to define the quintessential Temple University experience.

Associate Professor Scott Gratson presented to his Communication and Public Life class this semester the concept of the album amicorum, a combination of a social media, a yearbook and a bucket list that was first popularized by 15th century university students in central Europe.

Twenty-two groups of students have created a modern version of the album amicorum for Temple. In it, they showcased 30 things Owls should know to get the most out of their first year at the university. Gratson says the possibilities were endless: Homecoming, Temple Theaters performances, gallery exhibits, sporting events or scholastic endeavors.

With “Ode to Joy” filling the class’s lecture hall in its final meeting of the semeter, Gratson announced the choice for the best album, created by Team Wooo. The winning team will be treated to a meal at Le Bec Fin next semester.

“What we wanted to do is show that people come through Temple a lot and that we’re all connected to Temple,” says Team Wooo member Peter Ellinas, a sophomore Communication Studies major. “We left a couple of pages at the end empty so that new students could put their memories in it.”

The album describes how to maneuver through the financial aid process and the best places to hang out on campus, including under the bell tower.

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photos by Daniel Pelligrine

Another group of students centered their album’s content around success, and titled it “Shifting Gears.” Janice Durrant, a freshman communication studies major, says it offers a glimpse into life at Temple from a student’s perspective.

“College is going to be hard,” she says. “What we have done is create a tool that allows students to help themselves.”

Their book guides new Temple students through their experience with an explanation on how public transportation works, tips on campus safety, how to ace an interview and where to seek out disability assistance. They tried their best to make the book applicable to as many students as possible.
“Success is not a formula that fits all people in the same way,” says Sam Knaub, CMST, a sophomore.

Gratson says one of the goals an album amicorum is to drive the user to experience what is in the book first-hand and to network with people there. Each entry in the books offers space for someone who the owner meets at an event to sign, an introduction to the importance of networking.

The “Shifting Gears” group says they discovered more about Temple and Philadelphia through this project. They met several times in the TECH Center’s breakout rooms, which offer space for groups to work collaboratively, a resource of which none of them were previously aware. And freshman strategic communication major Hanna Schoenleber says that she will be making an effort to experience more of the city’s museums.

Each group was to create a physical book, and had the option of supplementing it with an on-line version.

Components of some of the class’s top projects may be used in Temple’s Living Learning Communities, residential communities of Temple students and faculty with a shared passion for learning, as part of its orientation for new students.