I Get to Dance
Air Date: November 16, 2020
#11 I Get to Dance
Nov. 16, 2020
0:00 Liz Shiro interviews Selena Alaimo, captain, KAOS dance team
8:33 Brendan McWilliam interviews Nathan Jackman, Criminology student and clothing brand entrepreneur
14:21 Katelyn Law interviews Kristen Gilmore, Students’ Union Vice President: Program and Services, Brantford
One Market is hosted by Associate Professor Bruce Gillespie, Program Coordinator of Digital Media and Journalism.
Thank you to Serena Austin, One Market Research Assistant, Melissa Weaver for graphics, and Nicole Morgan for campus promotion. Music by Scott Holmes.
Bruce Gillespie 0:03
Welcome to One Market, keeping the Laurier Brantford community connected. I’m Bruce Gillespie. This week we’re excited to share another bonus episode with you. This is the third in our series of episodes produced by fourth-year students in the Digital Media and Journalism Capstone course. On the show, we hear about how Laurier Brantford’s competitive dance team has adjusted their plans to suit the pandemic, and still hope to compete this year. Then, we hear from a Criminology student who recently launched his own clothing line. And then, we check in with the Students’ Union to find out how clubs and associations are operating virtually. All that and more coming up on this episode of One Market.
Our first guest is Selena Alaimo, who is a third-year Social Work student as well as co-captain of Laurier Brantford’s KAOS dance team. In this interview with DMJ student Liz Shiro, she explains how she became involved with the dance team in her first-year.
Selena Alaimo 1:03
Actually, in my first-year, I was debating whether or not to try out for the dance team. And it started out at the information fair, actually, during O-week. I approached the booth and ask them a couple of questions. And they really got me excited to try out for the team. So, I did so. And then, after that, I made the team. In first-year, I was just, kind of, a general member and just danced hip hop and open. And then, in second year, I applied for the executive position, and last year, so that was my job last year. I kind of ran fundraisers for the team. And then, this year I applied for captain, and here I am co-captain with Jesse. This is actually his third captaincy year. So, he has quite some experience and history in the captain role, so I’m really glad I get to work alongside him. Because he has a good grasp of what he’s doing, and I can learn a lot from him.
Liz Shiro 2:03
And especially during COVID. This is a very unusual season for your team. Are you feeling nervous regarding the season?
Selena Alaimo 2:13
I am feeling very nervous. We actually haven’t had the go ahead to start until recent, about, I think, two or three weeks ago, we just got the go ahead from the gym. And they were very hesitant to get us started just because they were super unclear about what was going to happen and how things were going to look. So, they didn’t have answers for us. But, I’m really glad that although it’s virtually, I think we’re really fortunate as dancers to be able to dance virtually because it’s such a flexible art that we can do it over Zoom. We can learn choreography over Zoom, and then once we get the opportunity to practice in person, when it’s safe to do so, we’ll have everything down pat. Just a matter of, like, formations and figuring out where everyone is. So, I feel really fortunate that we get to practice over Zoom and still have a team this year, this season is gonna look super different, and I’m a little nervous. But, I feel like once we get off the ground moving with everything, it’ll slowly pick up
Liz Shiro 3:14
I think the KAOS team is so skilled. I’ve had an opportunity to watch you two years in a row. first-year of university, and second-year I went because some of my friends were on it. And it’s so fascinating how all of you can just, like, all in the same time. It’s incredible.
Selena Alaimo 3:35
Thank you. Yeah, we love our showcase.
Liz Shiro 3:38
And this year, are you going to have a showcase also?
Selena Alaimo 3:41
We would love to. We don’t know the answer to that question yet. It may be virtually, if anything. So, if we do get the opportunity to be together in person and do it virtually, maybe, like, a Facebook Live or something like that, would be super cool to happen. So, we do want it to happen. We’re just unsure how it will look yet.
Liz Shiro 4:01
When I saw the news that you’re still putting a team together, I have so many questions, including how are you going to practice? Are you going to do any competitions? Because competitions is basically one of the most important parts of your whole entire season.
Selena Alaimo 4:20
Competitions is basically what we practice for, we practice to compete because we are a competitive team. And then, going along with that, practices are going to be super different. Obviously we’re not together, so if there’s partner work or lifts it’s going to be hard to practice that itself. So, we’re just working virtually right now with what we have via Zoom until we get the go ahead from the gym to practice in person. When that does happen, we have to practice through gym facilities. We’re not allowed to use outside sources or studios. So, that’ll be a little bit of a change for us as well. So, competitions this year are running. All three of the competitions that we have interest in are planning to compete, whether it’ll be via video. Some are planning on playing videos for the judges and we get judged that way, so we don’t have to travel or put ourselves at risk. Some competitions are willing to do a showcase style. So, we go in as a team, compete all of our dances, and then leave as a team, and then they sanitize the whole building, then another team goes in. So, there are options for us if we do compete, it’s just a matter of the health and safety of what’s going on with COVID at the time competitions happen, and then if the school allows us to because we are under the school. So, if the school says we can’t compete, unfortunately, we wouldn’t be able to. So, fingers crossed for that.
Liz Shiro 5:54
Since it is an unusual year, are you planning to have a smaller team than usual?
Selena Alaimo 6:01
Our goal was to try to make it as normal as possible. We do have our team finalized right now, we actually just got it finalized last night. So, that’s super exciting. We did have a couple dancers who were previously on the team, so a couple of vets opt out of being on the team this year, just because they were staying at home and they had work priorities, which is completely understandable. Or, they just didn’t want to do dance over Zoom, also understandable. So, we are a little bit smaller this year, but we do have a couple of rookies who also auditioned and join the team. So, we’re excited to welcome them to the team and show them, or welcome them into our KAOS dance team family, I think. So, just keeping that a family atmosphere is, kind of, my goal this year. Continuing the bonding with each other, and constantly keeping up with one another, and checking in, I think, is so important right now, especially during times where we can’t see each other face to face. Just like constant Zoom meetings, and games, and dancing, and stretching will definitely be happening, just to keep everyone on their toes and ensuring KAOS is still one big family, kinda.
Liz Shiro 7:18
It’s almost like an escape for all the students. Because as a student myself, I struggle with online learning so much. And I feel like,
Selena Alaimo 7:27
Liz Shiro 7:28
I’m present, but sometimes it feels like you’re enclosed in your room and you just have no escape. But, a dance team could be somebodies escape for just maybe, like, a few hours.
Selena Alaimo 7:42
Yeah, exactly. And I’m so looking forward to that, too. I’m so sick of my desk chair. And I think everyone gets so tired of Zoom after being on the computer for classes for so long during one sitting, or one day. It will be nice to just put my laptop down, and the laptop watches me for once instead of me watching the laptop. Like, I get to dance. I get to move around in my little living room. But, it’s better than me sitting in my desk chair. And that’s what I’m so excited for.
Liz Shiro 8:13
Well, thank you so much Selena. I’m sure everybody’s very excited about the dance team and watching you, whether it’s Facebook Live or Instagram Live, everybody’s really, really excited to see what you will do this year.
Selena Alaimo 8:27
Awesome. Thank you. Yeah, we’re so excited too, and thank you so much for having me, Liz.
Bruce Gillespie 8:32
Our next guest is Nathan Jackman. In addition to being a fourth year Criminology student, Nathan launched his own clothing line, Leaders Unopposed, this summer. To start the conversation DMJ student Brendon McWilliam asked him why he was motivated to start his own business.
Nathan Jackman 8:49
The motivation was, I was tired of working under people. I wanted to start my own thing and have something I can say I did myself and on my own. Really and truly the business aspect of it was just, because My mom has her own business. So, I kind of had a driving motivation for me, and that’s what really dragged me to start my own business.
Brendan McWilliam 9:10
And following up with that, do you have a strong personal desire to be your own boss?
Nathan Jackman 9:15
A very strong desire to be own boss. That’s, like, my main goal. Because as much as I would love to work under someone, having my own thing that I can say as my own means the absolute world to me.
Brendan McWilliam 9:26
So, how did you choose the name for your business?
Nathan Jackman 9:29
Originally, I was going to go with “Leaders” for my business. But, as that was taken, I decided to choose something that had a lot more meaning behind it, which is Leaders Unopposed because I see leaders around me every day of my life. People that I can tell are leaders in their own way, no matter what judgments are made about them. And I figured Leaders Unopposed was a perfect name because if you go unopposed that means no one, like, you’re going against what social norm is, and that’s what I wanted my brand to be based off of.
Brendan McWilliam 9:58
Have you faced any challenges on your journey to starting up your business?
Nathan Jackman 10:04
A lot of the challenges was on the basis of just getting all the documentation and everything put together. And then, setting up the business, the online store was really the most challenging, along with just the entire setup, the business part of using Shopify and all that stuff was the two biggest challenges, really.
Brendan McWilliam 10:24
So, what was the primary reason that you wanted to start a clothing shop of all things?
Nathan Jackman 10:29
This went back for me to high school because growing up, people judged everyone for little things that really they shouldn’t have judged him for at all. And I wanted to make my, because I wanted to be a big piece for just being a being a voice for people. So, I figured clothing was the best way to let people express who they are, and let them just show who they are and what they love. And I figured wearing their clothes and wearing what they love would be the biggest impact on people.
Brendan McWilliam 10:54
Yeah, for sure, that makes sense. So, how do you come up with your designs?
Nathan Jackman 10:57
The designs are, some days they’re based off of common interests that I’ve gathered through asking people on social media. And sometimes they’re just designs I come up with on my own that I feel like people are afraid to say they’re interested in or show that they are passionate about.
Brendan McWilliam 11:13
So, why did you start your business now, instead of waiting until the pandemic was over?
Nathan Jackman 11:18
The pandemic had nothing to really do with it, honestly. During the time, I had this idea since grade 12 of high school, and I just didn’t have the materials in place to do it until now. And opportunity showed itself during the pandemic, so I said, “Take full advantage of this time that I have by myself in my house to start off something that’s mine, and just start the business.”
Brendan McWilliam 11:38
So, what would you say are your personal goals for this business?
Nathan Jackman 11:41
My biggest goal is just to have a platform that shows off that people, everyone is a leader, and whatever they love. Whether it be if you like anime, or if you like rocket ships, and people judge you on that. I want it to be a place that’s open to everyone. Because, like, a lot of other brands that I’ve looked at, they have one specific focus on, like, either your skateboarders, your girly-girls, like, your athletes, or like, it was specific to one specific category. Whereas mine, I want it to be open to everyone.
Brendan McWilliam 12:10
It’s actually a huge trend in stuff like that, everything’s kind of marketed towards one group of people. So, yeah, definitely being able to reach out to everybody is going to be huge. So, have you thought about working with other people? Or, have you committed to mostly working solo?
Nathan Jackman 12:25
For right now, since it’s a starting process, I want to start by myself. And then, if it grows to be bigger than where I can handle it on my own, then I would love to join up with someone if I can. Because the main goal, as I said, was just to get as far as I possibly can as well, and just to see it blossom into something great.
Brendan McWilliam 12:42
So, how much time are you committing to the business per week while balancing school?
Nathan Jackman 12:48
I’d say per week, maybe two or three days per week, I’m really focusing on the business.
Brendan McWilliam 12:54
So, how did you decide to price your items?
Nathan Jackman 12:57
Well, that was a long process. Within, for me, it took me about two to three months to really figure out the pricing aspect of it. I had to search up different brands, smaller name brands that I’ve seen my friends do, and just base it off that. And really, for the pricing it was, I looked at the averages and I wanted to be, like, on the lower end of the averages. For averages for beginning brands, the prices, for shirts especially, it was like between 45 to 90 dollars. And I was like, “I don’t want to be on the high end of that.” Because then, you lose customers for that. So, I focused on being on the lower end of it, pricing and stuff like that.
Brendan McWilliam 13:30
Definitely makes sense. So, have you ever undertaken a project of this size previously in your life? Or, is this a whole new experience to you?
Nathan Jackman 13:39
I would say partially, I kind of have, something similar to this was, like, working with my mom’s cleaning business and, kind of, running the promotional side of that for her. So, I got some aspects of that. But, mostly, this is a new aspect I’m taking on now.
Brendan McWilliam 13:52
Yeah, for sure. So, could you give any advice to students, I say students just because you’re a student doing this, even anybody in general who are thinking about starting their own business?
Nathan Jackman 14:03
The biggest advice is, I would say is, don’t let them tell you you can’t do it. Because in reality, it’s possible, you just have to have the right mindset and have the right backing to really push through and get it done.
Brendan McWilliam 14:16
Perfect. Thanks for talking to me on this. I appreciate it.
Nathan Jackman 14:19
Bruce Gillespie 14:21
Our final guest is Kristen Gilmore. She graduated in June and now works as the Students’ Union vice president of programming and services for the Brantford campus. In this conversation with DMJ student, Katelyn Law, she explains what it’s been like to move all the clubs and organizations on campus online.
Kristen Gilmore 14:39
It’s been a very big learning experience, I think for, not only just speaking for myself, but I think I can speak for the Students’ Union. It’s been a very different time and we’ve had to use a lot of new, like, approaches to things. So, like, even just, like, really redefining, like, what, like, what success in an event looks like. And, kind of, just the whole transition from it was just, not a lot changed sometimes, like, it felt like this passion and, like, the essence of what a Students’ Union event is really stayed the same. There’s still that, like, sense of, like, community that we build, but it’s just different programming now. It’s just, kind of, taking everything with a virtual spin really.
Katelyn Law 15:20
I’ve also, kind of, seen that they push for more, like, dual campus events, since it’s a bit easier now to do that.
Kristen Gilmore 15:28
Yeah, absolutely. Like, we have been working so closely with Waterloo, which I think from a Students’ Union standpoint in Brantford, like, we’ve been wanting to do this a lot more. But, it’s really hard with just, like, the difference in campuses, like, we do know that, like, there’s something special about the Brantford campus, which kind of makes us different from the Waterloo. But, I think with COVID, it really has honestly brought us so close together. And we’ve been realizing that, like, how haven’t we been doing this before? Like, we’ve been, like, it’s been really nice with the promotions and stuff. And even just, like, coming together with, like, other people’s brains who have the same, like, passion or interest, like, for instance, like, people in Eco Hawks, right? Like, it’s super easy to be a person who has that passion for the environment. And now, you’re talking with another coordinator in Waterloo who has the same passion as you, right? So, it’s really easy to make those connections through our committees, but also just, like, it helps us with, like, the bigger events and everything. And especially because things are a little bit different and a little bit harder to plan. It’s kind of nice, just to have two brains on it.
Katelyn Law 16:31
Yeah, it’s really cool that we’re kind of pushing more for, like, one school, whereas before, it would always be like, oh, Waterloo campus, Brantford campus.
Kristen Gilmore 16:40
Yeah, exactly. We’re really kind of, like, coming, like, synchronous with them, which has been really, really great. And, like, my counterparts in Waterloo are fantastic. I think we have, like, honestly, like, a very, very, very strong team, a lot of people on our team who love challenges. So, I think for the most part, we’re all really doing, I mean not to brag, but, like, I really do feel like we are doing what we can with the most.
Katelyn Law 17:04
One of the things that I really miss is the presence of the different committees on campus.
Kristen Gilmore 17:09
Yeah, absolutely. Like, we do really miss seeing everybody. And we really obviously do miss that, like, in person interaction. We also do find, like, it is kind of hard sometimes to recruit people. And it is kind of hard to sometimes get big numbers out to events just due to the nature of online environments.
Katelyn Law 17:30
I’ve personally been really really busy. So, I haven’t had the chance to go to bingo outside, bingo and trivia outside of Orientation Week. But, have you seen, like, a really good, like, crowd come out?
Kristen Gilmore 17:40
Yeah, so, like, for, like, the ones that we do, like, the regular, like, bingo trivia, like, those numbers really haven’t dropped. If anything, like, we’ve been seeing actually a little bit more of, like, diverse students, which has been really nice. And, like, we were talking about, like, now that we’re, like, in the loop with Waterloo, we’re able to, like, host these bigger events. So, it’s less intimidating, I find, for people, like, I feel like if I was to go into a Zoom call, and there would just be, like, me and one other person, like, it’s a very tough thing to ask people to participate in. But, I think with, like, the both campuses going on, like, for trivia for instance, like, I think it makes it really easy to be comfortable in a big crowd like that. Even though it’s a little intimidating, and I get that.
Katelyn Law 18:20
Yeah, I get that too. Me, it’s kind of easier to tune in online, even though I haven’t because I haven’t had, I’ve been so busy with classes and everything else. But, it’s just, I find it easier to just be, like, “Okay, I’m sitting in my room, I just want to pop in and play bingo for a bit then go back to work.”
Kristen Gilmore 18:36
Being really busy and, like, that is a-okay. Before, like, I feel like the way we would look at events, it was like, we would define success on, like, event numbers and, like, doing these online, or doing, like, live events. But, I think, kind of, with COVID too, it really has shifted our focus on, like, the importance of, like, social media. And, like, the importance of, like, getting online and creating that, like, friendly and safe, like, online community, that I think, like, for years we’ve, kind of, just never really put a lot of emphasis in learning more about and, like, perfecting it. But, I think really with COVID going on, like, we’ve really sat down and we’ve had a lot of time to think about marketing, promotions, and like, just really taking into the idea that, like, we understand that students are exhausted of Zoom. Like, Zoom fatigue is a real thing, I can speak from it from being on calls since I got hired in May. I probably spend about close to seven to six hours every day just on Zoom. So, we understand what Zoom fatigue really feels like. But, I think there is also a lot to take away from social media events and stuff that are going on.
Katelyn Law 19:50
Thanks for talking to me, Kris.
Kristen Gilmore 19:52
Absolutely. Thank you.
Bruce Gillespie 19:56
And that’s a wrap. Thanks for joining us. We hope it’s helped you feel a little more connected to the Laurier Brantford community. If you liked what you heard, tell your friends and colleagues. You can subscribe on Apple, Google, Stitcher, or wherever you find your podcasts. Worried about missing an episode? Sign up for our newsletter. You can find the link on Twitter and Facebook @onemarketlb. We’ll be back with a new episode soon. One Market was created and produced by Bruce Gillespie and Tarah Brookfield. Special thanks to this week’s guest hosts Liz Shiro, Brendan McWilliam and Katelyn Law. Our music is by Scott Holmes, graphics by Melissa Weaver. Our research assistant and intern is Serena Austin. Thanks for listening. Keep in touch.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai