University Now Offers a 'Front Row' Seat

New Web site provides streaming video of campus events

By Stephen Gawlik
Staff Writer

A World Wide Web site recently created by the Office of Marketing Communications offers free streaming video of cultural and scholarly events at Boston College.

Academic Vice President and Dean of Faculties John Neuhauser (right) attended a recent demonstration of the "Front Row" Web site in Gasson Hall, along with site co-founder Office of Marketing Communications Director and Special Assistant to the President Ben Birnbaum and (second from left) Newton College Alumnae Professor Judith Wilt and Prof. Rebecca Valette (Romance Languages), two faculty participants in Front Row. (Photo by Lee Pellegrini)
Dubbed "Boston College Front Row," the site will serve as a resource to a worldwide audience seeking academic and cultural presentations and an archive for scholars and researchers, say project organizers.

"Over the years I've been to so many great events at BC, most of which are attended by an average of about 40 people," said Office of Marketing Communications Executive Director and Special Assistant to the President Ben Birnbaum. "So I figured, why not capture a few of them and put them on the Web for the world to see?"

Currently the site [] features 20 programs, including the Lowell Lecture Humanities Series events, readings by faculty authors, Church in the 21st Century presentations and selections from a faculty composer's recent CD.

Front Row is a service of Boston College Magazine and is produced by the Office of Marketing Communications in partnership with the colleges, schools, departments, and programs of the University that sponsor the featured events.

Birnbaum said that to be considered for Front Row, events must be sponsored by one of the University's schools, departments, research centers or other academic programs. Presentations must not only meet high intellectual standards but should be of general interest to a college-educated audience, he said.

Front Row will focus on events that are free and open to the public, Birnbaum said. Classes, workshops or seminars that require fees will not be considered for Front Row, except under extraordinary circumstances.

Nearly all tapes broadcast by Front Row are created by BC's Office of Media and Technology Services, or other professional videographers hired by the sponsoring organization or by the Office of Marketing Communications for Front Row.

Birnbaum said that he expects Front Row to feature 40 to 50 new programs per semester. Plans are under discussion to expand the site's offerings through links to other relevant information sources, he added.


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