UM is looking more futuristic now that the University Network has provided two 42-inch plasma screens, one in the UC Breezeway and the other in the Wellness Center.
The University Network pays for the hardware and programming through revenues from motion picture studios and advertisers, which means the screens are free of charge.
The plasmas will be in demo mode until the end of February but will eventually be streaming movie trailers from motion picture studios such as Sony and New Line Cinema and advertisements from national companies targeting college students.
Spot time will also be reserved for use by the UC, University departments and student organizations to announce upcoming events and deadlines.
For every 100 seconds of advertisement time, UM will receive 20 seconds of airtime.
The UM spots will be related to the facility where each screen is located.
For example, the Wellness Center will use most of their spot time for sports events, while the Breezeway screens will be used for in-house announcements as well as major campus events.
Students have mixed feelings about the new plasma screens.
Some feel the screens will help students get involved on campus, while others think the plasmas will simply blend into the background.
“I definitely think it’s a great idea and makes things interesting to watch,” Kimberly Gonosky, freshman, said.
Others feel it is a waste of resources.
“I don’t think it works,” Katherine Siegel, freshman, said. “I don’t think students will actually stand there and watch the ads.”
During this demo period, information will be collected and test spots will be created in order to estimate how much lead time will be required to allow user-created spots to appear.
According to Daniel Westbrook, director of the UC, a formal process involving student input will be in place by the end of spring break.
The plasma screen will be in operation while the UC is open and be closed up in protective shutters the rest of the time.
This is the first time the University Network has installed a plasma screen in an outdoor location.
Westbrook said there are plans to have a special “ambient noise” control added to automatically adjust the sound so that the volume will increase when the Breezeway is very noisy and decrease when the area is quiet.
Other cosmetic touches, such as UM logos on the roll-down shutters, will soon be added.
The plasma screens have been a success in other colleges throughout the country.
As yet there are no plans to add more on campus.
Check out the plasma screens for more information regarding spot time, or visit the UC Information Desk for specific details. Daniel Westbrook can be contacted at 305-284-3712.
Caralyn Pearson can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.