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Mace & Crown | March 26, 2017

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Cheers to the Mace and Crown

Cheers to the Mace and Crown
Jason Kazi
Assistant Digital Editor
Advertising and Business Manager

Having come from a couple of years experience as photo editor of my high schools’ yearbooks, I knew before I committed to Old Dominion University I wanted to be involved in the campus media organizations. What I didn’t know when I first walked into WODU Studios in September 2012 and the Mace and Crown in December 2014, was how incredible my experience at both organizations would be.

I started photographing for the Mace my freshman year. For the first two years at ODU, I dedicated most of my time and attention to WODU Studios. At the time, the adviser for WODU was also the adviser for the Mace. I had already established relationships with local businesses and promoters, and in December 2014, our then adviser Vamsi Manne told me about an opening for the advertising manager position at the Mace.

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A graphic created by incredibly talented Graphic Designer Elijah Stewart designed of Jugal Patel, Sean Davis and I ‘ballin.’

After interviewing and being offered the position, I met Mace e-board members Adrienne Mayfield, Jugal Patel and Sean Davis. Dri encouraged me to start writing for the arts and entertainment section, but I ended up writing more for the news section. Jugal started teaching me how to strategically use social media and create visually compelling journalism based on data, which led to me taking the role of assistant digital editor in 2014 as well.

As someone who has struggled with academics from middle school to, well really, today, I have always looked for creative opportunities outside of the classroom to support a self-driven education.Having been under impressed with the outdated curriculum design of the communication program and department at ODU, without a doubt, I can say I have learned more at the Mace and Crown, WODU Studios and other involvement on campus than I have in the classroom. The pressure of getting into a prestigious college and having a high GPA in college has truly ruined the love of learning students should have in an academic setting.

My experience covering everything from student-launched businesses with the support of the Strome Entrepreneurial Center to campus construction projects has allowed me to improve my writing and interviewing. Being the advertising manager for over two years has taught me what is arguably the most important skill to have in today’s growingly competitive society– selling and negotiating.Finally, covering concerts, events, lectures and festivals has allowed me to improve my photography skills.

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Former Mace and Crown Editor-in-Chief/Arts and Entertainment Editor Adrienne Mayfield and I at ODU’s Relay for Life event in 2015.

I had the opportunity to travel to a national music festival, Fashion Meets Music Festival, in Columbus, Ohio. I was able to interview the director of design and construction Mr. Dale Feltes for our campus construction special report. I had the opportunity to photograph and cover the Bernie Sanders rally at the Norfolk Scope earlier this year. To date, every company that has interviewed me for a position spends the most time asking about my campus media involvement.

The Mace and Crown is one of the few student organizations on campus that allows for a “learning lab” environment with little to no supervision from the university administration. A student with no journalism, photography or graphic design experience can come into a Tuesday meeting and leave two years later with a wealth of knowledge and experience for future employers. We have become a go-to resource for both campus administrators and local media outlets. If you recall, we were the first to cover the recent Nazi fliers scandal and the “Pill Cosby” controversial tweet. While I am truly saddened to be leaving, I am confident that I am leaving the Mace in good hands– Adam Flores as our new editor-in-chief, Kavita Butani as our new advertising and business manager and the rest of the editorial board who bring a combined wealth of experience with them.

I have probably spent more time in the newsroom than in my own dorm/house! Our huge, powerful iMacs, cable television and comfy couches were definitely a huge factor in that. I am truly grateful for the role my colleagues and good friends Sean Davis, Jugal Patel, Adrienne Mayfield and Amy Poulter had in getting me involved with the Mace and improving our content strategy and digital operations. While I don’t have a job offer yet, I do hope to stay involved with social media, digital media or advertising. The Mace will always be the cornerstone of my college experience and an important part of my life.