Senior works to enact media and social change

Senior Stephanie Rey poses for a portrait in the Cosford Cinema on Wednesday afternoon. Monica Herndon // Photo Editor
Senior Stephanie Rey poses for a portrait in the Cosford Cinema on Wednesday afternoon. Monica Herndon // Photo Editor

When senior Stephanie Rey went to her first Cinematic Arts Commission (CAC) meeting at the end of her freshman year, she had no idea how big an impact it would have on her life.

Last June, Rey got an internship with NBCUniversal in its Latin American division. The position eventually evolved into her current part-time job, which includes helping schedule the channels, screening potential movies and TV pilots, helping make monthly presentations of the big things happening on the channels and creating special promotions each month with their movies.

“I absolutely love it,” Rey said. “And one of the major reasons I got the job was because of my experience with CAC.”

CAC is a student organization that is centered around bringing motion pictures to campus. They are responsible for the movies that play in Cosford Cinema and other screening events that happen at UM.

As the vice chair of CAC, she coordinates all the social events for the club and runs meetings when the chair can’t. She finds her biggest accomplishment to be advocating for more co-sponsorship opportunities. Because CAC is part of Hurricane Productions (HP), they rarely did anything with organizations outside of HP until about two years ago. Recently, the group helped Rho Rho Rho, the RSMAS honor society, screen a film.

“We’ve really expanded ourselves,” Rey said. “We helped Rho Rho Rho bring ‘Finding Nemo’ to the Cosford for Ocean Awareness Week, which is something we never would have done a few years ago.”

As a leader of CAC,  she is also involved in the process for deciding on which movies are chosen to play in Cosford. They start with a big list of films available and then narrow it down. No one person brings a movie to campus; it is a joint effort from everyone in the organization. Rey has been involved with CAC when movies such as “The Hunger Games,” “The Avengers” and “Brave” were brought to the Cosford.

“It’s pretty easy with some of the big movies like ‘The Hunger Games,’ but we’ve gotten into some pretty lively discussions over smaller films we want to bring as well,” Rey said.

She was also involved in organizing and running  the popular UM “drive-in” movie experience on top of Pavia Garage last year and says that she would love to organize another one.

Students who work with her said Rey brings a lot to the table in everything that she does.

“Stephanie is a very hard worker,” fellow CAC member Kyra Munzenmaier said. “She works efficiently with our executive board and general members … and goes out of her way to bring a great deal of enthusiasm and dedication to our organization.”

In addition to CAC, Rey is the president of No Zebras, which aims to spread awareness about the issue of sexual assault. The six-year-old student organization currently has about 30 members.

“We are called No Zebras because in the wild when a zebra is attacked by a lion, the rest of the herd of zebras will just sit back and watch,” Rey said. “If all of the zebras worked together, they could overcome the lion. We use it as a metaphor for the bystander effect.”

She joined the group as a freshman because she said she feels passionately about the issue. She served as secretary that year, then vice president as a sophomore and president for the past two years.

No Zebras hosts events throughout the semester, but their big focus is April because it’s national Sexual Assault Awareness Month. The group’s main event is “Take Back the Night,” an open forum in which survivors of sexual assault and dating and domestic violence tell their stories.

Rey’s fellow board members say she has done a great job as president of No Zebras.

“I love working with Stephanie,” said Claire Kebodeaux, CAC public relations chair. “She is so organized and on top of things.”

With all that Rey has accomplished at the university, she is looking forward to a bright future after college.

“I would love to continue working in the TV and movie industry, either staying with NBCUniversal or moving to another company,” Rey said. “I think the entertainment industry still has way more room to grow, and I would love to help drive the evolution.”