Summer in LA returns

The School of Communication will jump-start its “Summer in Los Angeles Program” next year after a brief hiatus and will incorporate AU students outside SOC while lowering the cost of the program, according to David Lieberson, a student publicist for the program.

Beginning in summer 2011, SOC students will be able to study and live at Loyola Marymount University while connecting with Los Angeles-based AU alumni who work in media, according to Lieberson.

SOC hopes to enroll over 50 students in the program, Lieberson said.

The program will cost approximately $7,000, which includes housing, seminars and three credits for SOC majors, Lieberson said. The program will be open to rising juniors, seniors and graduate students. Students will be able to earn up to six credits through seminar classes, which cover a varying array of topics or internships.

Artist-in-Residence Russell Williams, the director of the Summer in LA program, said he will recruit seminar speakers based on what the participating AU students want to learn.

“[The seminars] can be molded summer by summer,” Williams said. “We can tailor the speakers based on the level of interest.”

Students will get the opportunity to choose from a wide variety of organizations for their internships. Major corporations like Warner Brothers and Capitol Records have said they will participate in the program and hire AU students as interns.

Williams said he hopes this diverse base of internship opportunities will lure non-SOC students into the program.

“We have a broad alumni base on the West Coast,” Williams said. “Some of these people we haven’t [contacted] yet because we haven’t had a broad interest [in the program] yet.”

The Summer in LA program is making a comeback after a three-year hiatus. The program started in 2000 and ran until 2008 when it was canceled due to a lack of interest, according to Lieberson. Students lost interest in the program because it was too expensive, housing was not guaranteed and the program itself was not advertised well, he said.

In order to generate interest in the program among students outside of SOC, Lieberson and others are working to spread the word about the program on campus.

SOC will be putting information on Today@AU, tabling on the quad and hosting an event for the program on April 8 to generate student interest, Lieberson said. The program also has accounts on Twitter and Facebook in addition to its Web site, according to Lieberson.

Gemma Puglisi’s Public Relations Portfolio class, COMM-437, will be brainstorming ways to promote the Summer in LA program for a group project, Lieberson said.

“The [students will use] four years worth of skills they have learned in public communication classes to help the Summer in LA Program re-launch,” Lieberson said.

Williams said he hopes participating AU students get a lot of valuable experience from this program and will be able to make contacts in LA that will help them find careers in the future.

“It’s a great opportunity for students who have the West Coast in their sights,” Williams said.

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