Tag Archives: Scene

lady pin with cover depth LRG print

USF PR Class Works with Local Jewelry Designer

Students in the public relations campaigns class are getting hands-on experience in the PR industry by creating their own firms and working with clients this semester. Senior Lani Vaill said that this is an experience “we would never be able to learn from a book.”

Vaill is working with a jewelry company  based out of Oakland. Founder Laura Bruland makes jewelry out of recycled books and according to Vaill, Bruland is the ideal client. “She is so responsive and open to what we want to do with the campaign,” Vaill said. “Having Laura as a client has been invaluable experience to our PR team, as all of us want to enter the PR industry after graduation. It has given us a glimpse into what working with an actual client is like.”

Bruland  started making jewelry just before graduating from University of California, Santa Cruz. She turned to her creative roots instead of going to graduate school as she originally planned. She said, “My goal was to start on a path that would lead me to being my own boss, and doing whatever I wanted.” Bruland is doing pretty well since she quit her day job at a café to focus more on her jewelry-making career. She started creating jewelry a couple of years ago, making flower brooches out of upcycled wool scraps from her grandmother.

Bruland joined TechShop, an organization that drives local innovation by allowing members to create, learn, and use tools in their studios. TechShop allowed her to experiment using a laser cutter and play around with materials that took her jewelry practices into a new direction. Bruland said that after learning the basics she came up with an idea to use book covers because she didn’t want to use materials that would release toxic chemicals when burned. She also liked the idea of using materials that could be repurposed or recycled. Two years ago Bruland got the help of Kickstarter to raise money for her own laser cutter. “Now that I have my own machine I can make so much more product,” she said.

Bruland’s jewelry is exclusively made from the covers of hardcover books. The pieces are all handmade one book at a time by Bruland and her partner, Julien Shields. Using the laser cutter, Bruland says that she can turn a single book into about 12-35 pieces of jewelry depending on its size in a few hours. She also likes to play around and experiment keeping a sketchbook to keep track of ideas. She is currently working on custom wall pieces and wedding items including ring-bearer books, cake toppers, and other fun decor.

Katy Lim, the managing director at Change Communications, is teaching the course under USF’s Communication Department.  The class is divided into three student PR firms, where students are required to come up with a four-month campaign that includes creating pitches to media outlets, bloggers, and potential retail locations for two non-profits and a local designer.

Bruland is very impressed by all the work that the USF PR class has done in helping her business this semester. “So far, they’ve boosted my Facebook and instagram followers quite a bit and I can’t wait to see what else they throw my way,” Bruland said.

Vaill, of the USF PR team, said, “Our main goal is to increase [the  jewelry’s] exposure to the public and we also plan on pitching to local popular retailers about featuring the products in their stores (Books, Inc. and Russian Hill Bookstore to name a few).”

Since working with USF students, Bruland is now making a prototype of necklaces for USF’s social sorority, Kappa Alpha Theta, with their Greek letters and 2014 graduation tassels in USF colors that are made from books which add a statement to cap and gowns.  Most pieces from cost between $16 and $50 and can be purchased online, at museum stores, and at many retail locations across the country. Bruland even sells her pieces at Urban Air Markets and festivals that celebrate the crafts of local designers. Bruland’s customized, one-of -a-kind necklaces and products are something Vaill and her team are proud to promote. The collaboration between the USF PR class and local designers demonstrates the strength in community that the San Francisco Bay Area fosters.


Behind the Scenes with Bastille

I did not expect to find out that the guys behind “Pompeii,” the chart-topping hit with a foot-tapping beat that builds up to a catchy chorus and explosive lead vocals and chants, are really a group of easy-going lads with a soft-spoken frontman. However, I would not have observed this if I had only seen them in concert, where they are known to have fist-pumping, dance inducing sets.

I had the chance to see English rock band Bastille at their soundcheck before their sold out show at the Warfield last Thursday. Even though it was a soundcheck, the band was animated in performing some songs for the few people present in the nearly empty venue that would later be filled by thousands of fans, including the crowd that was standing outside hours before doors opened.

Bastille is comprised of lead vocalist Dan Smith, drummer Chris “Woody” Wood, guitarist William Farquarson, and keyboardist Kyle Simmons. On and offstage these guys are entertaining in more ways than one. Simmons is obviously the jokester of the group, and everyone else bounces off his playfulness. When asked if they could see themselves doing something besides being musicians, Farquarson admitted with a chuckle that he does not  have anything else planned, to which Simmons quickly responded with “He’s equipped to do nothing else.” Simmons even made a lighthearted jab at Woody when he clumsily dropped his water bottle and wittingly said, “And he’s the drummer.” Then there’s Smith, smiling and quietly laughing at the small digs his bandmates are making at each other.

When it came to serious questions, the bandmates responded thoughtfully, showing their professionalism and dedication to their craft, as a band worthy of their recent 2014 Brit Award for Breakthrough Act.

“Be patient” and “be prepared to work for free for a long time,” Smith and Simmons said to a few college students present at the soundcheck, hoping to break into the industry as musicians. When meeting with the band, I joined these students who are members of Grammy U, an organization that the Recording Academy created for college students interested in the music industry.

Former USF graduate student, Joshua Redden, the San Francisco Rep for Grammy U, said “The Recording Academy wanted to educate college students properly who are trying to get into the industry, or if they don’t even know yet what industry they are trying to get into. We really want to instill professional development, [and provide] networking and work opportunities.” Members get to attend events like concerts, the Grammys, and workshops, where they meet and get mentorship from other professionals working in the industry, from producers to audio engineers, to musicians and more.

USF freshman advertising major and Grammy U San Francisco chapter member, Sarah Lanning, was drawn to Grammy U because it’s a resource in helping her learn more about the music and entertainment industry, which is where she hopes to work after graduation.

“What was really cool about Bastille’s soundcheck was that not only was I able to meet the band, but also their tour manager, and a few representatives from their record label, Virgin Records,” said Lanning. “One of the label reps was actually a former Grammy U member of the same chapter, so it was great to see that Grammy U really can help you get your foot in the music industry.”

In the Q&A with me and Grammy U members, Bastille answered more technical questions regarding the industry and gave advice, contrary to the usual questions the band would have to answer in interviews with journalists.

On the importance of making a good song, Simmons (the same guy who was picking on his bandmates earlier) said, “The song is the first brick of the house of music. You have to make it good. You can have a shitty brick and the house will fall apart. ”

I even got some tips from the band on interviewing, and what they like to be asked in an interview.

Lead singer Smith said, “Do your research. Don’t ask the obvious questions, like ‘why are you called Bastille?’ ‘why is the album called bad blood?’” Smith acknowledged that sometimes interviewers have to ask the necessary general questions for context for their readers, but he also notes to not ask questions that you can find on Google.

In case you were wondering anyways,  much like their song “Pompeii,” which is about the ancient Roman town buried in volcanic ash, the band’s name also has a historical reference. They were named after Bastille Day, the French national holiday that marked the revolution, which also falls on Smith’s birthday (July 14).

As for questions the band does like to be asked, Furquarson chimed in, “Throw in a funny one.”

In closing their soundcheck session, the band’s last parting words with us came from a brief interaction they had with Meat Loaf (“The Rocky Horror Picture Show”) in the studio, in which he said “Work hard.”


For more information on becoming a Grammy U member, visit:

http://www.grammy365.com/grammy-u or contact Joshua Redden at grammyusf@grammy.com


From left to right: Jonna German, Ienna Dela Torre, Derek Buckwalter, Ted Baird, Alisha Casey (Graphic by Matt Miller)

Dons with the Internship Advantage



Photo by Danielle Maingot






Who: Ted Baird

What: Sophomore entrepreneurship & innovation major

Where: Bron Deal Enterprises LLC; Frisco, Texas – It was a summer internship, to help grow his company and learn the behind-the-scenes to the fashion world.

When: May 2013 to August 2013

Why: I met Bron Austin at a Delta Sigma Pi fraternity event last year and he talked to me about his high-end custom men’s line. I told him I had a huge passion for the fashion industry and a few weeks later he offered me an internship in Texas to help expand his company. It was an amazing opportunity to work side by side with such a dedicated entrepreneur. I was lucky enough to travel with Bron to Oklahoma, New York, and various parts of Texas.


photo by Monica Chitre

Photo by Monica Chitre







Who: Ienna Dela Torre

What: Junior politics major, legal studies & media studies minor

Where: National Lawyers Guild SF Bay Area Chapter – a progressive legal membership organization that is focused on supporting and upholding the civil rights of underrepresented communities. I assist with general administrative duties in the office, as well as some research and article-writing. I help provide support to protesters at demonstrations throughout the Bay Area, responding to mail from inmates’ who seek legal support. It’s awesome!

When: Spring 2014

Why: I really wanted to get hands-on experience with a non-profit organization, especially one geared towards progressive thinking – so far, I love it!


photo by Monica Chitre

Photo by Monica Chitre







Who: Derek Buckwalter

What: Junior performing arts & social justice – music concentration major, general business minor, tech and design certificate candidate

Where: Om Entertainment Group – a local record label/lifestyle company that started the careers of artists like Kaskade and Bassnectar. I managed the online social media presence of the brand, shipped cds and other inventory, worked the merchandise table at the Maker Faire and a few concerts, created promotional content for the relaunching of one of the sub-labels, participated in the relaunch, found key corporate contacts, got equipment, and put up posters/flyers in local key business areas like the Mission and the Haight.

When: Summer 2011 to Spring 2013

Why: I love the artists whose careers they started, how well they treated artists, how they treat one another with respect, and the connections they granted me.


Photo by Monica Chitre

Photo by Monica Chitre







Who: Alisha Casey

What: Freshman english major

Where: Berrett-Koehler Publishing – Sales & Marketing Intern

I worked on Sales reports, meeting with authors, completing spreadsheets, and marketing in general (advertisting, tweeting, etc.)

When: January 21st-April 30th (three days a week)

Why: I needed an internship to break into publishing because it’s almost impossible to get into the business with just a degree. This was somewhere to start so I could move up. I’m also taking an internship writing class so I get four credits for the internship.


Photo by Monica Chitre

Photo by Monica Chitre







Who:  Jonna German

What: Sophomore sociology major, dual degree in teacher preparation program, health studies and child and youth studies minor

Where: Child Family Health International – a non-profit NGO that sends students to over 50 countries abroad. This organization provides medical care and assists impoverished communities through asset based community development. I helped implement community outreach programs, fundraise, and match students to programs according to their interests. Programs include dentistry, maternal and child care, reproductive health, etc.

When: October 2013 to February 2014 (once a week)

Why: Interning is really important because it gives you valuable experience into the working world. It helps students get an idea of what field they would like to go into. Firsthand experience is always beneficial. I wanted to learn more about public health as a field and this gave me lots of exposure to it as well as the non-profit industry.



Set Your Sights on This! “On Site” by Mitra Fabian at Thacher Gallery

Using Gleeson Library’s old unusable microfilm, Mitra Fabian, a San Jose-based artist, constructed four hanging cascading columns with long strands of microfilm billowing out at the bottom ends to become a crumpled and tangled celluloid mess. One of the major focuses that the artist expresses is her intent to alter this artificial and manufactured material (microfilm) into a more organic and natural form, blurring the lines between elements that reflect nature and a material that echoes the current condition of human nature.

More about this exhibit »

Microfilm was used because it was a material that directly came from the normal operation of a library. Photo by Danielle Maingot.

Microfilm was used because it was a material that directly came from the normal operation of a library. Photo by Danielle Maingot.








“The installation acts  as a direct response to the gallery environment, as Fabian drafted it out after visiting the space one day,” Jeffrey Chen, freshman art history major said.  Photo by Danielle Maingot.

“The installation acts as a direct response to the gallery environment, as Fabian drafted it out after visiting the space one day,” Jeffrey Chen, freshman art history major said. Photo by Danielle Maingot.


The Top 5 things We’ve Learned from “How I Met Your Mother”

Since its premiere in 2005, “How I Met Your Mother” has brought on a huge fan base, ranging from young teens to middle-aged parents.  We’ve developed close bonds with the most eccentric group of friends—Ted Mosby, Barney Stinson, Marshall and Lilly Erikson, and Robin Scherbatsky—and can now probably create a detailed mental map of McLaren’s Pub.  As a die-hard HIMYM fan, I will truly miss tuning in every week to see the shenanigans that unfold leading up to how Ted finally meets the woman of his dreams.  Now that the nine season long series has finally come to a close, we can reflect on the great lessons “How I Met Your Mother” has taught us.

WARNING: Major spoilers ahead.

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