Out of class experiences range from a weekend to a semester
In recent years, communication majors have frequently participated in Castleton's London and Santa Fe semesters, where their communication work has ranged from analyzing British media to producing award winning video. Additionally, communication students have recently studied independently in locations as far flung as New Zealand and Peru, while internships have taken them from Los Angeles to London.
Along with Castleton faculty, students have attended statewide and national advocacy and academic conferences including a "Stop Pornography on Campuses" conference in Boston. For the past several years communication students have represented Castleton as presenters at the Vermont Academy of Arts and Sciences Symposium, and students have presented alongside established and reputed scholars at New England and National Women’s Studies Conferences, and the national Popular Culture Association conference.
Many communication students hone their media skills and resumés working on student media. Castleton's student newspaper, The Spartan, reaches the campus and college community and its stories have often been picked up by local daily papers. It published the first family interview after Capt. Richard Phillips was rescued, a story that was republished nationally. Castleton's student-run radio station, WIUV-FM, which broadcasts at 91.3FM and on the Internet, has been cited in regional publications as an innovator in new music programming. Many alumni of both media outlets have gone on to careers in journalism and broadcasting.
Every year journalism students and faculty travel to New York City for the College Media Association annual conference, where they attend sessions led by media representatives from major media outlets, exchange ideas with other students and bring ideas back to improve student media at Castleton.
Communication students help the University, local, state and even national communities in their coursework, internships and department-related extracurricular activities. Some of these opportunities contribute to their ability to receive Castleton's Civic Engagement Certificate.
A Media Ethics course recently analyzed the diversity of content in a major state newspaper and presented a report to its editorial board resulting in improved coverage that included stories reported and written by students. A special topics course created the website "Castleton Connection" and provided the town of Castleton with detailed local coverage of both feature and hard news stories.
In Media, Social Action and Political Activism, students recently created a website for one of the state's largest canine rescue groups, reported for The Green Energy Times on environmentally-friendly initiatives at state colleges and universities, developed voter education materials, and created a resource directory for the Vermont Commission on Women. Students in Race, Gender and Sexuality in Media created a Facebook-based game on African American history which has since been duplicated at many schools, including DePaul University. For the same course, students have joined worldwide campaigns against women's images in fashion magazines and launched an annual campus-level celebration of sexual minorities.
The Documentary Workshop has in recent years produced works on homelessness, bullying and the struggle of dairy farms in Vermont. These documentaries are in circulation throughout the state, and have been viewed by graduate and undergraduate courses in education, agricultural policy groups, teachers and advocacy groups, and hundreds of students.
An independent study documentary, filmed during a student's semester in Santa Fe, features the craft of building with adobe brick and led to the student presenting at a sustainability conference in Croatia. The work on homelessness was presented at the American Democracy Project conference in Oregon. Students have also produced video and multimedia projects to promote local organizations including Arts Reach, Mentor Connector, Sustainable Rutland and a number of college programs. One student produced a radio public service announcement on drunk driving that won a statewide award over entries from Vermont's best professional broadcasters. Other students have produced graphics used by major statewide organizations.
Students often earn practicum credit working for The Spartan and WIUV-FM where they engage with both college and local communities. Interns have worked at businesses, media outlets, hospitals, social support organizations, and political organizing venues in and out of state, where their supervisors frequently report that they have made significant contributions to the community.
The Communication Department encourages student-community interaction and Castleton's Civic Engagement Certificate is an alternative choice for the department's minor requirement.