The University of Connecticut is an institution so large and vast that it can be a challenge keeping track of all the facets of it. Even as part of the campus newspaper, there are just so many regular goings-on that it’s hard to remember each aspect. It would seem that members of the university’s community have seen the same issue, as there is now a new attempt at a UConn-centric podcast – “UConn 360.”
The endeavor stars Julie Bartucca, Tom Breen, and Ken Best, all UConn alumni and/or faculty. Although only one episode is out for now, the goal of the podcast is to provide news and perspectives on the university, often with guest appearances by those who help make UConn what it is. In the inaugural episode (as they put it), already three guests make an appearance.
After speaking of some current events, the hosts bring on a member of the Connecticut Repertory Theatre, the general manager of WHUS, and a UConn penmanship instructor. Through each, they share informative or just humorous stories, and a good time is had by all. While the episode is enjoyable and shows promise, there is one aspect of the first episode that does not bode well.
In no way is this meant to degrade those who appeared on the show this week, but the choice of programming leaves a bit to be desired. Of course, the people who appeared would be fine over the course of a couple episodes, but stockpiling the first episode with those involved in some sort of media or liberal arts pursuit-- not at all surprising given the communications department behind UConn 360-- is not the smartest move for the wide appeal that a podcast about a university should go for.
There is always so much going on in UConn. Professors and students are constantly at the cutting edge of research, the sports teams always have some pursuit underway, and hundreds of clubs exist across all interests and disciplines. For a podcast titled as is to imply a full view of the campus, UConn 360 paints a comparatively narrow view on what happens at UConn.
Of course, if the podcast were truly a lost cause, it would not even be covered here. Any new way that UConn tries to communicate and share more about itself is an exciting thing, and UConn 360 is no different. Beyond the quality of the hosts (which seem great judging by the first episode), a podcast like this will live or die based on the guests and topics approached. There are so many people who have big impacts on UConn, so many names in the back of the public’s head, that it would be a shame to ignore so many of them. Here’s hoping that this can become something big, and that Julie, Tom, and Ken can expose all that UConn has to offer.