Montclair State University recently unveiled its new partnership with Sony, a strategic relationship that came as a surprise to many students. In turn, some students were skeptical about an outside presence creating a second home at Montclair State. However, with skepticism finally at bay, students and faculty are starting to rally behind the new partnership.
In a press relase, President Susan Cole stated that the partnership “will generate and deliver widely beneficial educational, business and career-development opportunities for our communication and media students.”
Students — especially those in the School of Communication and Media (SCM) — are beginning to see these same benefits as well. After all, Daniel Gurkis, Dean of the College of the Arts, said, “Through our strategic alliance with Sony, Montclair State will have the most technologically advanced broadcast and media production facility at any university in North America.”
Clearly, SCM students are interested in having the most advanced facilities in the country, and the university administration believes that this partnership will help achieve those results.
Students are beginning to back these plans, since they have a lot to gain by doing so. According to the strategic alliance, Montclair State will receive preferred pricing, extended warranties and training as well as a range of excellent professional opportunities from their connection with Sony
Meanwhile, Sony’s preferred pricing program will hopefully save Montclair State a significant sum of money on equipment for their new facility. The money that the university saves could be used to buy more equipment or improve the conditions in other buildings and programs on campus.
With equipment being eligible for preferred pricing, it will become less expensive and the university may be inclined to purchase more of it than before. At the same time, having more equipment will help students gain access to the items they need with increased ease. Along with more equipment, students will also have more up-to-date equipment, which will greatly increase the quality of student and faculty work. Students could even use this work to apply to internships in the field as well as to seek job opportunities beyond college.
Along with reduced pricing, extended warranties will ensure that all cameras and other gear are working correctly. No longer will students have to play around with damaged equipment on-site only to realize, after weeks of planning, that they cannot film or shoot their projects due to malfunctioning gear.
Since equipment will be working and plentiful, it is helpful that Sony will offer Montclair State as many as three briefings per year on new technology. It is key for media students to understand new products and features so they can use them to their full potential. These briefings will allow the entire community to learn new information without having to waste valuable class time fiddling around with technology. This also helps with the learning curve, as everyone will be on the same page.
Another benefit of Montclair State’s involvement with Sony will be the opportunities that come out of it. Each year, Sony will pay for five students to attend the annual National Association of Broadcasters conference. This will be a great experience for individuals who are passionate about their field.
Sony also promises to have at least three internship opportunities for students in the department. The internships will provide students with experiences that they could not receive elsewhere, since Sony is such an established and expansive corporation.
While there are undeniable benefits to the new partnership forming on campus, it is important to be cautious when forming corporate sponsorships at the university level.
We believe that colleges should place emphasis on their students, but placing focus on more corporate sponsorships in the future could lead to a slippery slope where student needs are thrown to the wayside. Rather than accepting all new partnerships with open arms, it is imperative to take a second look and consider the long term effects on the campus community. Students should not look back at University Hall as alumni to see it covered in large, branded stickers. If we can avoid that, corporate sponsorships should be benefical.