By Taylor Nichols
Western’s student video production program, KVIK, will come to an end after 14 years.
The two student employee positions at KVIK will become part of the Associated Students Communications Office in fall 2017. The volunteers with the program will be able to continue their work separately as part of an AS club.
AS Communications Director Mohammad Ebrahimi said the current employee positions, the coordinator and assistant coordinator, will be responsible for creating promotional content for the AS and photographing events.
“Through some talks, it became clear that the way the AS communicates with the campus and the student body is not efficient or effective.”
Alex LaVallee, AS vice president for activities
“Most students are on their phone, even in their class[es]. Let’s be honest, [they’re] on Facebook or Twitter,” Ebrahimi said. “So [promotional content] would be a good resource to have, to add to our marketing process.”
This change is due to a need for improved communication between the AS offices and the student body, and because student interest in creating KVIK programs has declined, Alex LaVallee, AS vice president for activities, said.
“Through some talks, it became clear that the way the AS communicates with the campus and the student body is not efficient or effective,” LaVallee said.
This change was recommended as part of an assessment of the communications office done by the AS assessment coordinator which began fall 2016.
KVIK has given students experience in filmmaking and video production by creating original video content aimed at Western students.
The program currently runs the sketch comedy production, “SHOW! The Show” and “The Mix,” a show about the music scene in Bellingham. The rest of the staff at KVIK is made up of student volunteers.
Students who want to continue working on the shows can form individual clubs for each and use equipment from ATUS, LaVallee said.
LaVallee said this will give students more creative freedom without having to adhere to certain AS guidelines, such as not using profanity.
Senior Sean Mittelstaedt, the AS assistant coordinator for KVIK, became involved with the program last year.
“I have kind of mixed feelings about it. Part of me can see it being positive for the stations to be independent,” Mittelstaedt said.
The equipment KVIK has will go to the communications office, and Mittelstaedt said while ATUS does have much of the equipment necessary to create the programs, it doesn’t have everything they might need.
Mittelstaedt said he’s working on a new project within KVIK which will become a film production club next year, although he will graduate this spring and will not be part of the club.
They plan to model it after the film industry, with students in roles such as writers, directors and producers.
“I want there to be a place here at Western where filmmakers can be, and where Western can help people who have a passion for film get the experience they need,” Mittelstaedt said.
One of the ways the AS hopes to improve communication with students is creating informative videos. They currently use a mass email system to inform students about resources and events on campus, which is ineffective, LaVallee said.
“With the changing landscape of what the AS needs in terms of video and what KVIK exists as,” LaVallee said, “Now seems like an opportune time to make the shift.”
LaVallee said it is part of a larger restructuring of the AS, and he hopes in the next two years KVIK, the AS publicity center, The AS Review and the communications office can all be updated to be a consolidated office for AS outreach.