Park Bench Philosophers, a talk show between Mitchel B. Wallerstein, the president of Baruch College and Daniel Dornbaum, the president of the Undergraduate Student Government was launched on Sept. 9 and is set to air on the first Thursday of every month on WBMB, Baruch’s radio station.
“This initiative was undertaken to bridge the gap between the students and the management,” said Dornbaum.
As a member of USG, Dornbaum worked with WBMB when he live streamed senate meetings to update students on club events.
Prior to this show, students had few opportunities to interact with Baruch’s president and were often limited to a few emails, appointments made a month in advance and Lunch With the President, a program conducted twice per semester.
Through the radio show, students get the opportunity to stay updated on the happenings and activities around the campus without spending a considerable amount of time or resources.
Every show will be divided into three segments, with the content of each segment being set to change every month.
“The first episode was structured with a balance in between fun facts while at the same time emphasizing some of the great history that Baruch holds,” Dornbaum continued.
The debut episode was divided into Then and Now, Fun Facts and Facilities. The Then and Now segment focused on the college’s relationship with fine arts, which began with the Lucky Stiff musical ad in The Ticker in 1996 and Rent, the first musical on campus after a two-decade wait.
Previous and current Baruch mascots, a 1990s Ticker critic discussing Jay-Z and former CUNY Chancellor Matthew Goldstein were the topics covered during the Fun Facts segment.
The third and most important segment was titled Facilities and talked about the renovations around the campus that the majority of students were largely unaware of. The conversation started when Dornbaum presented a student rumor to the president and Wallerstein, in return, debunked it while tackling the issue.
Both the 23rd Street Building and the 25th Street Plaza are undergoing renovations and the construction is set to begin in early 2017. The current Plaza which is in a temporary state is set to be converted into a permanent, outdoor urban space. It will be completed in approximately one year.
Additionally, Baruch is set to have a new Student Center in close proximity to the campus.
“The majority of the students are not particularly interested in knowing about the nitty-gritty details or the level of progress on every single issue, but it helps to keep the students updated,” Dornbaum added.
Wallerstein believes that the radio program will be of great value to all Baruch students since it creates a system which is both accessible and transparent. The meetings between USG and school management are not always open to Baruch students and even if they were, they would not necessarily fit into every single person’s schedule. The show provides a platform that makes it easier for both the students and USG alike to communicate with the president, as they will receive updates and reports about the school.
Furthermore, this show serves as a catalyst in USG’s ongoing mission to create an inclusive environment on campus.
Regarding the show’s reception, Vlad Zakrzhevskyy of WBMB said, “We received around 150 unique hits or 150 visitors logged in just to listen to this particular episode while on air.”
This number does not include the people who listened throughout the day in different locations such as the game room, cafeteria, field building, and the 25th Street Plaza, among other places.
Considering the circumstances of production makes this number even more remarkable for a debut episode, since it lacked marketing on social media or advertising.
In addition to vocalizing students’ thoughts and concerns, the program also serves to show a spectrum of perspectives that emerge from the collaboration between USG and Baruch’s administration. Regarding the future of the series, Dornbaum hopes that the show will continue in years to come with or without his presence.