When you sit in your dorm room, in the dining hall, or student center and you turn to channel 12-1, you might see the faces of your fellow students doing some pretty big things. You’ll feast your eyes on student reporters on the scene of a major campus event, students acting in skits they wrote and directed themselves, and live large-scale productions to raise money for charity. When you turn to channel 12-1, you’ll find Hawk TV.
This student-run organization gives members the ability to write, produce, edit, direct, and star as on-air talent in their own productions. Founded in January of 1996 by communication Professor Donna Dolphin, the program began with the goal to create an organization that would provide students with hands-on experience to prepare them for careers in the world of Communication.
Dolphin grew frustrated with the lack of co-curricular activities for students interested in Television and Film, so she created one.
Professor Dolphin did not ask permission to start the organization. She knew it would be difficult, so she aimed to just do it and show that it would be a success.
The only problem that arose was the name. The first name was “Monmouth Univision,” but former campus attorney, Grey Dimenna, the current University President, insisted that the name be changed due to a Spanish network of a similar name. Then the name Hawk TV was established.
Located in the Jules L. Plangere Center for Communication, Hawk TV has a rich history on campus. Since its beginning 22 years ago, the organization has won an array of awards and produced reputable alumni, such as Nancy Kane Leidersdorf. She was one of the first Hawk TV Executive Board members and is now a Vice President at Nickelodeon and serves as a member on the Monmouth University Board of Trustees.Russell Cerminaro, a senior communication student and Station Manager for the organization, as well as the Executive Producer of Triple Scoop, a show about movies, music, and television, has been on the executive board for three consecutive years with his previous positions as Webmaster and Programming Director.
“I feel like Hawk TV has given me the confidence to enter the real world and the TV industry because I’ve learned so many valuable lessons,” said Cerminaro. In fact, the experience he gained and networking with former Hawk TV alumni have helped land him an internship with WWE.
When alumni graduate and leave the institution, they often look back to help students with advice, or even jobs and internships. The organization often hosts a networking event with Alumni purposely for fun and networking.
Monmouth alumni, Yazmin Rodriguez was actively involved in Hawk TV from 2013 until her graduation in May of 2017. Her involvement helped her gain footage for her reel, which is essential in landing broadcasting roles.
Rodriguez served as a reporter and anchor for both Hawk TV News and The Extra Point. She says that the most valuable thing she has learned has been to not get comfortable doing one thing and learn from serving in multiple positions.
Rodriguez is currently in graduate school at Sacred Heart University. Hawk TV has helped to put her one step above the competition. “Hawk TV really gave me much more knowledge than others in my class,” said Rodriguez.
Flexibility is key and Ariely Batista’s favorite thing about Hawk TV Batista is a junior communication student who became involved with Hawk TV during her sophomore year. “You can try a different position every week if you wanted to,” said Batista.
“Everyone gets a chance to learn how to use all the equipment and the members are so helpful to those who are new,” continued Batista. She believes that Hawk TV has helped her become more responsible and taught her the importance of meeting deadlines.
Hania Sarsar is an active member and serves as the Associate Producer of Hawk TV News. This sophomore communication student encourages people to get involved with the organization. “Don’t be nervous, just reach out to people within Hawk TV and have an open mind,” said Sarsar. There is no cost to join the organization and there are different shows for students to participate in.
“Hawk TV is an important part of the path to success. It offers an opportunity to practice and improve skills,” said Dolphin. “It’s a chance to experiment and be creative beyond the classroom. It’s a networking opportunity like no other. A member of Hawk TV is working with folks who are going to become successful. But more than that, a member of Hawk TV is automatically going to become a Hawk TV Alum. That is a large and powerful network of successful individuals who recognize one another for hard work, dedication, and creativity that they all share,” continued. Dolphin.
Hawk TV is not exclusive to just Communication majors. Anyone of any year or major has the ability to join and get the hands-on experience. Students even have the ability to pitch their own show ideas and run for a leadership position after one semester of active membership.If you are interested in joining Hawk TV, meetings are every Wednesday at 3:45 p.m. in Jules Plangere, room 138, or visit the Hawk TV Office to get information from a member of the Executive Board.
PHOTO TAKEN by Tianna Fougeray