Making my voice heard on The Panel @ Allen

Story by Ryan Seibold

Photo by Margaret Conners

Panel @ Allen
The Panel @ Allen hosted its first event, a student town hall with an SOJC faculty panel, on Wednesday, May 17.

Once I was admitted to the UO School of Journalism and Communication, I knew I needed to get involved. Experiential learning and building relationships are just as important as the education that takes place in lecture halls and discussion sections. And when I heard there was a Student Advisory Board for Edwin L. Artzt Dean Juan-Carlos Molleda, I was immediately interested. It wasn’t as well-known or publicized as other student organizations, but it had an important purpose: providing feedback to the dean as student representatives.

The board wanted to recruit a diverse group of individuals from all disciplines and levels of experience within the SOJC to provide critical suggestions through a variety of lenses. It sounded like an incredible opportunity to collaborate with other students and make a difference for students in the school who deserve to have their voices heard.

After applying and speaking with the chair of the board, Ammas Tanveer, I began to attend bi-weekly meetings with Dean Molleda. We would met in an informal setting to discuss the current challenges, goals and ambitions of the students. The dean would listen to our recommendations on how to improve the SOJC as a premiere school of journalism and communication and how we can provide students with more access and opportunities.

But as a group, we wanted to become something more. We decided to become more visible and transparent to the rest of the student body. We decided to publicize the issues we addressed in our meetings and open them up to discussion in a town hall.

For our first town hall, the dean, members of our board and a panel of faculty members from all disciplines of the SOJC worked together to address the needs of the students. That’s where the new name of our group, “The Panel @ Allen,” came from.

Planning the town hall event was incredibly rewarding. We reached out through social media to students and faculty in our community, and in doing so turned our internal discussions into an open forum where many more students could talk about their urgent concerns about their future.

After the town hall, we realized our group’s purpose had evolved from an advisory board for the dean to an organization that advocates for students. We decided to achieve this by campaigning for the success of all SOJC students through direct engagement with Dean Molleda.

For this new purpose, we need a bigger group. We are opening the application process soon to admit more students to The Panel @ Allen, and I hope our group grows in both size and scope.

I want to accomplish even more than we did at our first event. I envision a group of students that continues to advise the dean and provide feedback, but transforms those discussions into bigger and more visible campaigns.

As students, we have the opportunity to make our voices heard to the school’s administration about how we our experience at the SOJC can improve. The Panel is a way to compile our voices and turn talk into action.

If you want the opportunity to collaborate with other students and faculty members in a group setting, and you want to make a tangible difference for your peers, I recommend applying for The Panel @ Allen. You can access the application from the group’s Facebook page or on Twitter @ThePanelAllen.

The growth and success our group has seen this term alone has been phenomenal, and I hope other students in the SOJC recognize that and become involved, by joining the group or by reaching out to us with issues they believe the school should address. You can message us questions and concerns through Facebook or Twitter, and we will address those issues in our meetings with the dean.

While we advise the dean on the issues he presents to us during our meetings, we exist to serve as representatives of the student body, and The Panel has incredible potential because of that.

Ryan Seibold is a sophomore from Beaverton, Oregon, majoring in advertising with a minor in business administration. He is an at-large member of the Associated Students of the University of Oregon’s Student Planning Construction Committee and a member of Delta Tau Delta fraternity.