Campus News

Whatever happened to the Commie Awards?

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Here on Bethel’s campus there are a variety of events that occur throughout the year ranging from rugby games, musicals and several random clubs or major-related events. However, one of the most highly looked forward to events hosted on Bethel’s campus in the past has been the “Commies.” One of the key players in this event has been assistant professor of communications Theo Williams. “It started out in that we needed an opportunity for communication majors who had done internships to share about them,” said Williams of the origins of the Commies. “So it would be something where at the end of the semester, they’d tell us where they worked and what they did,” he said. Williams went on about how the event morphed as time went on. “(T)he idea morphed into having some funny videos interspersed throughout the evening and then after a while that became the driving force and in between the videos we would hear about the internships. The event was a time for the Bethel campus to get dressed up, have a fancy dinner and make funny videos that would compete for prizes such as money and gift cards. As the event had throughout the years became a large social gathering on campus, it was a bit of a surprise to discover that the Commies have been discontinued. “There was no story behind it as far as ‘we’re quitting the Commies because it didn’t work out,’” said Williams. “It was rather that a lot of work went into it and I knew I didn’t have the time to get it done and didn’t hear a lot of people talking about the cancellation of the Commies, which would have let us know that we needed to bring it back.” The Commies had been planned as a semester-long project for the Foundations of Communication class each year, but Williams said it got to be too much for the class. “The event consumed the Foundations class, who put the event on,” he said, “and it became a lot of stress for me because although the class would do the majority of the planning, I would have to go behind them and make sure everything was right.” Along with the specific issues related to the event, there were a few other factors that went into the cancellation of the Commies. Last year, Williams was focused on a dissertation for his doctorate, and this year the Foundations class has taken on a distinctly different fundraising project. Both of these factors have meant that there hasn’t been a real pull for the Commies to return. But all may not be lost for the much-loved night of videos. Williams appeared to be positive towards the idea of the event returning. However, it would take a great deal of student appeal, money and time to bring back the Commies. “Maybe if we do bring it back, it wouldn’t be this class project,” he said. “It can just be something that the communications department puts on or some (communication) majors put on.” But, regardless of who puts on the event, Williams stressed that there had to be enough obvious student interest to make the event worth it. If students want the event to happen, it will happen. In other words, Bethel students, it appears as though the return of the Commies is indeed solely in our hands.
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