By Chelsea Champion ‘14, The Ionian - Staff Reporter
On Sept. 11 a crowd of eager Iona students stormed New York for the chance of a lifetime.
In honor of “GMA U” week, Good Morning America’s week-long special reliving the college experience, the Gaels were invited to come down to Times Square and be part of the show’s live audience.
Students sacrificed precious sleep and gathered bright and early to be part of the experience, boarding two buses at 5:30 a.m.
They were rewarded for their dedicated school spirit with a free box lunch and commemorative t-shirt for the occasion, provided by the college.
The trip was seen by many as a great opportunity to get involved with student life in a new and exciting way.
Junior Bayonia Marshall said, “I think it was great, especially for the freshmen because it was a way to get more involved with the school off campus.”
This opportunity arose unexpectedly and plans were made in short order.
According to Dawn Insanalli, director of Media Relations, Iona was contacted the week prior to the Sept. 11 filming and was asked to participate in the college week festivities.
“We jumped at the chance to participate and show Iona pride,” said Insanalli. “It was a great opportunity to appear in front of a national audience and get our name out there.”
Students emerged from the buses decked out from top to bottom in Iona gear sporting creative and spirited signs.
Killian even made an appearance, hanging in the crowd with the other excited students.
“As an international student I didn’t really know what to expect coming here,” said Junior Beauvais, class of 2015. “It ended up being a very great experience to be part of the crew here and I really enjoyed it.” Other students agree.
Junior James Walker said, “At the beginning I was indifferent about the trip, but it turned out to be a great time. We made a lot of memories and showed a lot of spirit for Iona and this event brought that out in us.”
The broadcast ran for two hours, between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m., with the college portion airing during the second hour.
Although students were spread throughout the crowd and mixed in with other visitors and college students, the Gaels still managed to get some face time with the camera.
Some students even came back to campus with free mementos from Good Morning America such as hats, t-shirts and banners.
Many students were lucky enough to be standing right behind the action of the interview with Jenny McCarthy and the musical entertainment by The Beelzebubs, an a capella group from Tufts University, showing off their Iona pride to a national audience.
Anchor Sam Champion even mingled with the crowd, briefly interviewing a few students and even stopping to appear in a few pictures with enthusiastic fans.
The excitement didn’t end there. Some Gaels were also granted special access to the studio after the show for the live filming of Good Morning America’s online segment, GMA Live.
Only a handful of people had the chance to take part in this behind the scenes experience and get up close and personal with the GMA cast and crew.
“I got really excited when they asked us to go see the studio,” said senior Caitlin Brown. “It was cool to be a part of it and see what it takes to make the show.”
This trip was a unique opportunity for both the students and the college alike.
The broadcast afforded Iona the chance to shine in front of the entire country, showing off school spirit and helping to bring more attention to the new student-focused branding campaign.
“I am proud of our students for showing such support and I especially thank everyone for waking up so early to participate,” said Insanalli.
For questions or more information please contact:
Dawn M. Insanalli
Media Relations Office
Iona College, 715 North Avenue, New Rochelle, N.Y. 10801
Office: (914) 637-2726
Mobile: (914) 217-4061