Strategic idea for incoming college freshmen!

[To comment:]

From the wish I had thought of it department:

As reported in The (Philadelphia) Inquirer, “they are becoming a staple of weekends between June and September – taking their place alongside bathing suits, vacations and flip-flops.

“Trunk parties are hot.”

Kristin Holmes reports, “The soirees, named for a piece of luggage once synonymous with packing for college, symbolize the rite of rassage from high school to college.”

The full story may be found at:

In a nutshell, it’s not unlike a bridal or baby shower “where college-bound students invite friends to them (a party of sorts),  post pictures of them, and register at stores for them.”

How strategic.

As Holmes reports: “The parties are goodbye gatherings to which guests bring gifts — anything from towels, irons, shower caddies, desk lamps, toilet paper, and notebooks to bedding, mini-refrigerators, and laptops — to help students make the transition from home to college.

“The largesse is often placed in a trunk displayed prominently during the parties.

Bed, Bath & Beyond has had an increasing number of teens using its college gift registry for trunk parties, spokeswoman Jessica Joyce said.

“The gatherings can be small affairs to much larger themed-based parties for more than 100 of your closet family and friends.”

The origins of the events are unclear. Sally Rubenstone, senior adviser to the school admissions website College Confidential, said she first heard of a trunk party 40 years ago from a southern classmate while a student at Smith College in Northampton, Mass.

Between then and now, the parties seemed to fall out of favor, but they have reemerged with a vengeance, said Rubenstone, who is also a college counselor. Longtime wedding planner Vikki Leach of Lansdowne, Pa. attributes the surge to the struggling economy combined with the exorbitant cost of a college education.

Family and friends who gather to celebrate and help buy dorm-ready gifts are “a part of the concept that it takes a village,” Leach said. “This is the village wrapping their arms around the student as they go away from home.”

As The Inquirer reports: ” (Shauntae) Doughty, co-owner of Center Stage Party Planning in Philadelphia, sees the trend as an extension of the emphasis on entertaining that has been the focus of TV shows about weddings and “super Sweet 16s.

“But for Rubenstone, the resurgence may be the product of a generation of parents who habitually reward their children for even the smallest accomplishments, so ‘of course, the whole community will mark’ their departure for college.

“Some postings on the College Confidential site describe the practice as a ‘tacky’ way to get gifts for college.

“Rubenstone understands that view among communities or families where going to college — or going to the snazziest colleges – is routine, and if students have had a graduation party.

“But that argument doesn’t apply to students who perhaps are the first in their families to attend college, or for whom college is a big deal in the family and community, Rubenstone said.

“Davondra Turnell, who will study physical therapy at Manor College, broke down and cried at her party last month when each guest stood and offered words of encouragement.”

So, the choice is yours and your family. Not only is it strategic, it also opens an entirely new cottage industry for public relations majors looking at special events.

Hmm. Wish I had thought of it

Feel free to comment. [To comment:]

Penn State and Middle States Commission

[To comment:]

As many know, I’ve been saying for weeks that the real “death penalty” for Penn State would be adverse action from its accrediting agency Middle States Commission on Higher Education. I am not advocating an accreditation loss or even probation. However, as a former reporter, I believe too many in the media are missing that story.

Another  story needing scrutiny is whether or not Penn State violated the Clery Act.

That said, The Philadelphia Inquirer and reporters Sue Snyder and Robert Moran and Associated Press reporter Kathy Matheson by-lined stories on Aug. 14 and 15, respectively. From Snyder’s story “Latest warning is unlikely to threaten Penn State’s accreditation”:

Even though Pennsylvania State University got yet another stern warning Monday, it is highly unlikely that the university will lose its accreditation as a result of the child sex-abuse scandal involving a former assistant football coach, national experts said.

“‘Unthinkable. Unimaginable,’ said Molly Corbett Broad, president of the American Council on Education, which represents presidents of colleges and universities and leaders of other higher education-related organizations. ‘It’s a great university. Its academic quality is superb. . . . If I were a mother of a youngster who had been accepted to Penn State, there is nothing in this set of events that would cause me to have second thoughts about the choice of school.’

“The warning by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education that Penn State’s accreditation was ‘in jeopardy’ is ‘standard protocol’ for an accreditation agency,’ she said.

“In addition to academic quality, the agency also requires universities to meet standards regarding financial health, adequate board governance, and institutional integrity, and Penn State will have to address such issues in answering the commission’s warning.

“It also must comply with federal laws, such as the Clery Act, which requires that universities provide accurate and timely reports of crime on their campuses. The U.S. Department of Education is trying to determine whether the university violated the Clery Act.”

Matheson wrote:

Higher education experts say an accreditation warning issued to Penn State is serious and appropriate given the issues raised by a recent child sex-abuse scandal, but the school is unlikely to lose its accreditation.

They also expect the university to comply quickly with demands to show its governance, finances and integrity meet standards set by its accreditation agency.

The Middle States Commission on Higher Education issued the warning last week based on the school’s handling of molestation allegations against former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky.

Judith Eaton, president of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation, said Tuesday that it’s highly unlikely Penn State will end up on probation or lose its accreditation.

Students cannot use federal funds , including Pell grants and government loans , to attend unaccredited schools.

Moran’s lead summarizes Penn State’s reaction, well:

“An accrediting body has warned Pennsylvania State University that its status ‘is in jeopardy’ following recent developments in the Jerry Sandusky scandal and that it needs to take steps to preserve its accreditation.

“University leaders expressed confidence Monday that Penn State would address all the concerns expressed by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

“‘This action has nothing to do with the quality of education our students receive. Middle States is focusing on governance, integrity, and financial issues related to information in the Freeh report and other items related to our current situation,’ said Blannie Bowen, vice provost for academic affairs.”

I do not profess to be a higher education accreditation expert. However, from personal experience I know that a college or university can lose its accreditation for something other than academics. The North Central Association of Colleges and Universities literally put Parsons (Iowa) College out of business by revoking its accreditation because Parsons over extended itself financially.

Parsons records are archived at the University of Iowa. The campus is now Maharishi University of Management.

The NCAA sanctions are nothing compared to a Middle States’ action.. I’m sure the media will stay on that and news about possible Clery violations.

[To comment:]

An advertising (strategic communication) question???

[To comment:]

Why Is It? (a/k/a The Advertising Poem)

A man wakes up after sleeping
under an advertised blanket,
on an advertised mattress,
pulls off advertised pajamas,
bathes in an advertised shower,
shaves with an advertised razor,
brushes his teeth with advertised toothpaste,
washes with advertised soap,
puts on advertised clothes,
drinks a cup of advertised coffee,
drives to work in an advertised car,
and then, refuses to advertise,
believing it doesn’t pay.
Later when business is poor,
he advertises it for sale.

Why is it?

Word of mouth/Mouse to mouse

[To comment:]


‘Voge’ always demanded your best effort –Sound advice

[To comment:]

Because of copyright laws, I’m probably not supposed to reprint this Courier-Post piece.  But here goes. It contains so much good advice left behind by dear friend and mentor John Vogeding. Kevin Callhan expresses it better than most. Please take heed.


By Kevin Callahan


July 31, 2012

From the corner of the newsroom, behind a big cigar and a puff of smoke, boomed a voice as loud and as terrifying as that of a wrestling official slapping the mat in the ear of young man just pinned in his first high school match …


The night was 29 years ago this summer. I had just started working at the Courier-Post. There were no professors in college who taught me what I learned the next 20 years working with John Vogeding, the assistant sports editor.

I responded sheepishly, as 15 of my new co-workers listened while still typing, “Mr. Vogeding, I live in Pennsauken, it is spelled P-e-n-n-s-a-u-k-e-n.”

“Well, why did you spell it wrong?” he bellowed back while editing a story I just wrote on independent men’s softball or something small. “Always, double check, twice, your spelling. Always.”

I shrunk. No one in the sports department that night dared to laugh at me. They knew they could be next.

“And, call me Voge,” he barked to me as I thought about a new career.

Voge was 71 when he passed away early Sunday morning. The lessons he taught so many of us at the Courier-Post will live every time we write. The details. Like double checking, twice, our spelling. Now, when I make a mistake spelling a name wrong in a story, it is not because I didn’t double check, twice, but because I’m just dumb.

He also taught me that night – and so many of us over two decades at the newspaper – no story was too small to make a mistake. Not even a men’s softball beer league wrap-up. He said our credibility was always on the line.

Knowing Voge outside of the newsroom as well, I don’t hesitate to say he was also this demanding as a teacher, coach, official and organizer on the South Jersey sports scene for the last five decades. Voge was so darn demanding even at his softest moments. Darn him, he always demanded you be at your best.

Really, what a concept, huh? He simply demanded your best always.

Tim Kelly, the public relations director at Richard Stockton College, used to work at the Courier-Post back in the early 1990’s. On Saturday afternoons, we would gather around the TV and watch the end of the Notre Dame football games before starting to write. As much fun as we had back then, Kelly felt the wrath of Voge, too, hearing him bark while reading his copy, although the cigar smoking was gone by then.

“I remember him not being shy about pointing out ‘little’ factual errors because ‘one error like that hurts credibility,’ ” Kelly said. “I’m still not a great person at the details, but better than I was, thanks to Voge.”

Indeed, Voge made everyone better.

He made writers better. Voge made his students at his beloved alma mater Paulsboro High School better. He made the Red Raiders’ athletes he coached in football, wrestling and track all better. He made the track officials he worked with for 45 years in South Jersey better. He made wrestling officials he assigned better. Voge made the committee members on the South Jersey Wrestling Hall of Fame he co-founded better.

For a man who accomplished so much – he is a member of the South Jersey Wrestling Hall of Fame, the New Jersey Chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame and the Camden County and Gloucester County Sports Hall of Fames – he also cared to make those around him better.

“Voge was a great guy and a great leader,” said former long-time Varsity editor Dave Treffinger. “He taught me how to be a better newspaperman in the 24 years we worked together.”

Perhaps this demand to be his best came from living his entire life in Paulsboro. The small river town has produced more champion high school athletes per square inch than probably any place in New Jersey. There is an innate toughness, passion and pride to Paulsboro which flowed through Voge in every job he did at every moment.

Recalling her first Woodbury Relays in the mid 1980s, former Courier-Post sports writer Barbara Baals said she saw Voge dip his cup into rain water accumulated on top of a tent in the press area. “He gulped the rain water down as I stood there, watching wide-eyed. ‘I’ve lived my whole life in Paulsboro,’ he said. ‘That’s not going to kill me.’ Then he grabbed his clipboard and stopwatch and went back to work,” said Baals, the assistant director, office of media and public relations at Rowan University.

Voge’s son, Mark, called me on Sunday to let me know his dad passed away. I was at Eagles’ camp, but I wanted to write an obituary story on Voge, too for Monday’s paper. So, I did. Driving home that night, after sending my two Eagles stories and my Voge story to the sports desk where he sat for two decades, I heard his booming voice in my head, “double check, twice.”

I thought, Voge would laugh if I misspelled his name. The irony of it would make him laugh big. Still, Voge demanded to be right in the paper rather than get a good laugh. So, I pulled over to the side of the Pennsylvania Turnpike. I checked my iPhone, calling up the story.

I just had to double-double check, twice, the spelling …


[To comment:]