January 10, 2023

Experiential Learning at the White Rose Music Fest

By Julianna Orkin '23

Experiential learning is alive and well at York College of Pennsylvania, and the White Rose Music Fest, held in October 2022, is just one example of how YCP helps students stay engaged with the local community. Students from the Communication and Writing Department had the opportunity to gain hands-on experience during the music festival. Professor Craig Do’Vidio’s Advanced Production class was on site for the duration of the three day festival, recording video and audio during musical performances. Throughout the Fall 2022 semester, Professional Writing major Alex Merritt ‘24 also continued work on an independent study that involved surveying attendees and writing an after-event report. 

Independent Research and Real-World Applications

Alex began work on the White Rose Music Fest after Dr. Michael Zerbe reached out to them over the summer. “He asked if I would be interested because the people who were handling the festival were looking for some type of student involvement, if anybody could help out…I’m a Music minor, so he thought I might be interested.” After that initial conversation, Alex did some research on the background of the event and what would be involved, then got to work in the fall. 

They credit their success to their FCO class, which introduced them to different types of writing, and work experience at the York College Bookstore for helping them to feel “a little more prepared” for marketing work.  

After they finish writing their after-event report with recommendations for next year’s White Rose Music Fest, that feedback will be shared with the organizers of the festival. Overall, Alex sees their independent study as a learning experience, particularly with regard to skills like time management, social media content development, and understanding an audience’s perspective on community events. 

Hands-On with Project Management

Jonathan Haberman ‘23, Sports Management and Mass Communications major, served as the project manager for the White Rose Music Fest assignment in Professor Do’Vidio’s Advanced Production class. He was the main liaison between his team of seven students, Professor Do’Vidio, interviewees from the community, and the Revs, who were sponsoring the festival. “All in all, [I made] sure everything ran as smoothly as possible the day of the event,” Jon explains. 

Working in the community with the assistance of a faculty member is a different experience than just submitting a project for class since there are real-world consequences to not completing a task on time or not delivering what the client wants. “There’s more pressure,” says Jon, “but it’s more rewarding.” 

Creating Opportunities Beyond the Classroom

In order to accommodate an experiential learning opportunity, Professor Do’Vidio was able to apply classroom lessons to real-world work being done for the White Rose Music Festival. “This was a perfect fit for the Advanced Production class in that the students would be able to kind of interact with the leadership of a large organization,” says Do’Vidio. Working in the community allowed students to understand the expectations of a professional organization and the skills they’re looking for in their employees. 

For students looking to take on leadership roles in production classes within the Mass Communications program, or within any academic program, Jon suggests that students trust their abilities and to go into community projects with an open mind. “They know you’re not the people getting paid millions of dollars for this; you’re in college learning and gaining real world experience.”