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March 19, 2014


March 19, 2014

Confession. I am a bit of reality television junkie. I know they’re not especially academic nor do they present people in the best light, but I often can’t tear myself away. There’s just something about watching regular people interacting in different situations. Whether it’s everyday life, living on an island with strangers, competing in a singing competition, buying a wedding dress, running around the world or facing a problem, I find human interaction fascinating.

Bring on "Survivor," "Amazing Race," "Project Runway," "The Real World," "Top Chef," "American Idol," "Hoarders," "Obsession," "My 600 lb. Life" and more. A few, I haven’t missed an episode of. Others, I’ve watched occasionally. I’m not especially proud of the fact that I’ve watched people lower themselves to compete for a bachelor, yet, there it is. The first step is admitting it, right? (I learned that on "Intervention").

I do have some boundaries. I don’t watch reality shows about celebrities. I can’t relate to any them, nor do I want to. I can’t get into watching people who often are famous only because they’re rich. Give me a poor waitress who sings herself into stardom over bickering kids with silver spoons any day.

I think what draws me to reality shows is the same thing that drew me to study psychology—I’m captivated by the human experience. I love watching different personalities and how they mix with each other. Plain and simple, people interest me. That’s not to say I don’t love fictional television, movies or books, because I do. There’s just something cool to me about watching something real.

That’s why I’m so excited to see the final product of MSU’s President’s Report—Inside Out.

As I mentioned last week, this year’s report is looking at the student experience from the inside out. We (and by that I really mean a class of video production students) followed nine undergrads for an entire semester, documenting their lives on campus. It’s going to be a story about students, done by students. The project will culminate next week when the final documentary will be released and the report website will be launched.

It’s like our own special Real World, and that’s what makes it so interesting to me. It’s all about tapping into MSU’s vast opportunities and creating their own paths as Spartans.

Today’s college students are so much more that what gets portrayed in movies and on TV. We’ve started to release some short video previews about the Spartans we’re featuring and they’re pretty great.

You can find them all (we’ll be revealing one a day until March 26) in the STUDENT VIEW: Inside Out.

So far, you’ll find Isaac Angulano from Tyler, Texas. Isaac is a freshman studying finance who comes from a migrant worker family. He says he’s “living the American dream.”

There’s also Claire Babala from Plymouth, Mich., a sophomore studying professional writing who finds time to volunteer with Detroit youth.

Peter Burroughs is from Bowling Green, Ohio and a freshman studying media and information. He is especially interested in video game development.

We’ll also be featuring Kristen Kelsay from Wheaton, Ill. Kristen is a senior studying psychology and is also captain of the varsity volleyball team.

I can’t wait to see the finished products and learn more about them.

I also want to hear more about the process to get to the finished product. I think it’s cool that the president tasked students to create her report. Think about what that says to a student—the president believes in you and trusts you to create her annual report to showcase the university. Pretty incredible opportunity.  

Granted, they’re not doing it without some help. Jim Peck, executive producer and director of photography and videography in Communications and Brand Strategy, was one of two instructors who helped them. He and Troy Hale taught the class “Reality and Television Production” and guided the video crew as they built the report.

Read Jim’s FACULTY VOICE: Deadlines, to learn a bit more about what went on behind the scenes.

I’m intrigued by what I’m seeing so far and I’m really looking forward to the finished film. The reality is, our students are pretty amazing.

Spartans Will.


Lisa Mulcrone
Editor, MSUToday

Photo of the “Reality and Television Production” class by Kurt Stepnitz


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