Asst. Arts & Entertainment Editor
The pandemic has hit hard for a lot of student organizations on the Whittier College campus. Everything had to move online, meaning these organizations had to find a way to keep their members engaged. KPOET, Whittier College’s official radio station, has found a new way to keep their followers involved. On Nov. 9, KPOET announced on their Instagram that they would start highlighting Whittier student creatives.
The feature is called “Poet Student Spotlight,” and students have the chance to nominate other students with any creative talent. KPOET’s Social Media Manager, third-year Rocio Gonzalez Melendez, said she created the Poet Student Spotlight (or PSS) “as an effort to create positive content on our Instagram page.” Third-year Kassady Garrison, KPOET’s Assistant General Manager, added to this, “We did try to do an online version of [Open Mic Night], but it seems that students weren’t too keen on the idea of sending in videos of their talents. We decided to [put] Poet [spotlights] place to highlight students and build a bigger community during COVID-19.” They do not have plans to bring back Open Mic Night while we are learning remotely; however, they are open to bringing it back sooner than later.
PSS is a great way to highlight students, and, as Melendez said, it is a unique segment: “PSS is not a segment that encourages competition. It’s a segment where students shout out their friends [or] peers that have a creative talent. I wanted to make PSS as inclusive as possible, which is why I think it is important for us to continue.” KPOET is continuously trying to find new ways to engage with their followers. Every Thursday, they have Knockout Playlists, where KPOET members compile a five-to-seven-song playlist. They also have monthly giveaways, which you can enter on their Instagram! Garrison said that they are currently working on a podcast series to be aired in the Spring. This podcast will feature past Open Mic participants and talk about their goals, talents, and aspirations. They have seen an increase in enthusiasm and involvement since starting these segments. The November giveaway got over twenty entries! Melendez said that it’s hard to tell how engagement will go, but it’s been positive so far.
If you’re interested in nominating a friend or classmate for Poet Student Spotlight, all you have to do is send KPOET a direct message on Instagram. You’ll need to include the student’s name and what their creative talent is by Tuesday nights. Then, they’ll feature the student along with a clip of their talent on Wednesdays! While PSS may just be getting started, Melendez hopes, “As time goes on, we will have more submissions so we can post about several creative students.” They’re making the best out of a difficult situation. It’ll be exciting to see the new era of KPOET unfold!
Featured Image Courtesy of KPOET