Five-hour RTN telethon to benefit Make-A-Wish Foundation

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On Wednesday, March 7, 70 students from Rowan's College of Communication will use all of the broadcast production skills they've learned in the classroom when they host the fifth annual Rowan Television Network telethon to benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
Certainly, Kristen Conner says, working on the Rowan Television Network's (RTN) annual live telethon is a great resume builder. But it's about more than that. Much more.

"It's a profound moment when you realize that your skills and talents can be used for something other than your own personal ambitions," says Conner, an aspiring television news reporter and a senior journalism and Honors student at Rowan University.

On Wednesday, March 7, 70 students from Rowan's College of Communication will use all of the broadcast production skills they've learned in the classroom when they host the fifth annual RTN telethon.

From 7 p.m. to midnight., students will host the five-hour live telethon in an effort to raise $5,000 for the Make-A-Wish Foundation of New Jersey. Each year, close to 500 children with life-threatening medical conditions have their wishes granted through the foundation's New Jersey chapter.

The telethon, which will include live call-ins from viewers, performances by bands and live interviews, will air online at www.rtntelethon.com and also on Channel 5, Rowan's closed-circuit television station.

Last year, the RTN telethon, which is completely run by students, raised close to $3,000 to benefit Alex's Lemonade Stand, surpassing organizers' goal of $2,000 with more than 90 minutes to go in the broadcast.

Most of the telethon's donations come from Rowan students, though outside donors are welcome to contribute, according to Conner, who is vice president of RTN.

"Every year we've surpassed our goal and it's just been fantastic," says Conner. "College students always say they're broke. But it constantly amazes me the generosity that they have. We've had students give the last 50 cents they have on their Borough Bucks to the telethon."

RTN members thrive on the challenges the production offers and, also, on being able to impact the lives of others, according to Conner, a resident of Seaford, Del.

"The telethons are moments when I feel like I'm made to do TV," she says. "For most of us, the telethon is what we live for in the second semester of every school year.  It's a much bigger production than people might think."

Telethon organizers are hopeful that they'll be able to assist a New Jersey child in fulfilling his or her dream through Make-A-Wish, according to Conner.

"The children with Make-A-Wish deserve to have their biggest dreams come true," she says.

RTN's telethon is led by the following students: Executive producers: Dominic Trombino of Plainfield, Ill., a senior radio/television/film (RTF) and journalism major, and Brianna Vander Horn of Mine Hill, a senior RTF major; Associate producers: Caitlin Walsh of Clarksboro, a senior RTF major, and Nicole Perraino of Hamilton Square, a sophomore RTF major; Host and talent coordinator: Kristen Conner of Seaford. Del., a senior journalism major; Music coordinators: Jake Chusid of Roseland, a senior RTF major, Jason Carubia of Hopatcong, a freshman RTF and theater major, and Chelsea Dobrucki of Williamstown, a junior RTF major.

Matthew Montalto of Livingston, a junior RTF major, and Samantha Powell of Woodlynne, a junior communication studies and Spanish major, are the directors.

Chris Winkler, television production coordinator for the College of Communication, is the adviser for RTN.

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