The first issue (February 14, 2012) of The SOWELA Champion was a collaborative effort of students enrolled in the Spring Semester 2012 Business Communications class both face-to-face and online from Lake Charles and the Morgan Smith campus. This project founder and administrator Professor P.A. Guillory, School of Business & Applied Technology, started the project to help students develop critical thinking and communication skills through writing and interviewing, to develop a “team player” work ethic through brainstorming ideas across academic disciplines and to develop the art and skill of research and fact-finding.
Students were assigned to teams that shared similar interest, given deadlines, and required to produce manuscripts of no less than 160 words. Manuscripts were student-specific and included sections on inspiration, information, health & living, news, tips & challenges, student clubs & organizations, events and much more. There was no limit to what students could write about as long as it had a positive resolve and raised the standard.
Faculty and staff were interviewed by students, but accordingly faculty or staff could not contribute independent content to keep the integrity of the newspaper as student based. Although this newspaper originated from the Business Communications classes, every SOWELA student was invited to submit their idea or their print ready manuscript to The SOWELA Champion.
The forum was monitored through a discussion website where students were placed in teams to work with one another in developing story ideas. Students chose their topics of interest and joined the team by introducing themselves and sharing their idea. Team leaders rotated with each issue providing the opportunity for students to develop their leadership skills. Brainstorming sessions were scheduled weekly and held in a classroom computer lab setting to give the students the opportunity to proofread and make corrections to their copy.
As with any endeavor, the original faculty/staff on this project cannot be overlooked. We would like to thank Erik Jessen, Graphic Arts and Bret Downer, past Director of Marketing & Community Relations for their help in the beginning stages of this project. Currently, the project includes Ms. Adrienne Abel, Mr. Darrell Buck, and student volunteer Brittany Bushnell, Editor-in-Chief.
The SOWELA Champion has taken on new life with the introduction of funding from the college; however, the Champion will maintain its original plans to be self-sustaining. In order to secure this plan, the newspaper will generate funds through ad sales to produce income for the operating cost and its supporting staff. Students interested in joining the team should contact the Faculty Advisor, Professor P. A. Guillory 337-421-6985, or email email@example.com .