At the College of William and Mary, we encourage students to learn for the sake of learning. This is certainly admirable, but most seniors also share another goal — finding a job after graduation. We are excited to hear about the novel idea to create an industry alumni group for arts and entertainment that will include several big name professionals, including Patton Oswalt ’91. Because the new Arts and Entertainment Council is organized through the College’s alumni association, it is in a unique position to benefit the College in two ways — through career services for students and advocating for the arts at the College.
The alumni association has partnered with the Sherman and Gloria H. Cohen Career Center at the College to organize an arts and entertainment seminar that will inform students about careers in these fields and will provide networking opportunities. Unlike students pursuing careers in business fields, students in this sector of the College may not be fully aware of the opportunities available to them. The development of the council will help make students aware of and prepare them for careers. We hope that these seminars follow the model of the Career Center’s Ferguson Publishing Seminar, which has helped cultivate the College’s strong reputation in the publishing industry.
The council also hopes to give students opportunities to shadow alumni in the industry. Students would have a chance to apply the skills they’ve developed at the College in the real world. Shadowing also provides yet another opportunity to network.
In addition to helping students find careers after graduation, the group would also benefit the College. Plans for a new arts complex were curtailed during September’s Board of Visitors meeting due to lack of funding. The council could not only advocate for the arts but also help with fundraising, which would alleviate some of the College’s financial burden.
Furthermore, the council hopes to make a new arts complex profitable by building facilities suitable for hosting big name events. We believe that this goal is realistic given Williamsburg’s tourism and the city’s demographics; while not every resident in Williamsburg may be interested in hearing the Roots perform at William and Mary Hall, the average resident would likely be interested in seeing “The Lion King” or a major ballet performance on tour. The group would also be able to help the Muscarelle Museum of Art book major exhibits through alumni connections.
We are excited to see what this council has in store for the College, and we believe it will be hugely beneficial to the arts program. We hope that other less-publicized industries, such as journalism and museum studies, follow the arts and entertainment sector in forming alumni groups specifically to improve student opportunities at the College.
Editor’s Note: Katherine Chiglinsky recused herself from this editorial in order to remain unbiased in her reporting.