Students, alumni, faculty and community members filled Park Auditorium Sept. 25 as part of the second annual Park Tank.
Park Tank is a competition which features students competing for prizes by pitching their new media concepts to a panel of alumni judges.
Senior Prairwa “Sunny” Leerasanthanah won the first prize of $500 to incorporate a clothing company into her Tumblr blog, “But I’m a Tomboy.”
Leerasanthanah’s blog and print magazine serve to represent androgynous and alternative styles of fashion, as well as the LGBT community. Leerasanthanah said the inspiration for this outlet came originally from the pressure from her family for her to dress in a stereotypically feminine fashion instead of the way that she wanted to.
“From friends and the members on the website, it’s been phenomenal, and it’s keeping new people who are excited,” she said.
With this support behind her and her success on Friday night, Leerasanthanah plans on getting a trademark and pursuing “But I’m a Tomboy” on a professional level, which will include branding and creating a digital magazine to sell clothing.
The host of the show, Bryan Roberts, associate dean of the Roy H. Park School of Communications, said he loves the event because it not only gives him an opportunity to tease people while showing positive leadership, but it connects students with notable alumni who go out of their way to help students.
“The more opportunities students can have to do real–world pitches without the consequences of the real world, that’s why we kill it when they get out there. They’re just so much more prepared with other students,” Roberts said.
Freshman Alexa Dargis was awarded $300 as the runner-up for her business, ”M1 Jewelry,” which provides a product to help with the problem of losing one earring and not having a use for the remaining one. “M1 Jewelry” sells a necklace that will hold the earring, creating a stylish piece of jewelry out of something that would have otherwise been tossed aside.
“With the money I was awarded, I’m hopefully going to look for more investments … and hopefully get a patent for the design of it, and also move forward with the whole company,” Dargis said.
Dargis also said she plans on using a prototype of her product to help get more funding for “M1 Jewelry” in the near future. The judges offered compliments, constructive criticism and advice to all contestants, which Dargis said was useful given the experience and expertise that the judges have in the professional business world.
In third place, senior Dominick Recckio, president of the Student Government Association, won $100 for “Ithacaflix,” a website he created that was described as the “Netflix,” “IMDB” and “GoFundMe” for Ithaca College and film schools across the country. Students and faculty would be able to post the films that they make and share them with the community. The site would offer streaming of student films, a fundraising sections for these films and a database for companies to find student filmmakers.
Judge Jason Muenzen ’02, director of the investment program and instructor in the Department of Finance and International Business at the college, said he enjoyed listening to the students’ ideas. When listening to these ideas, he said he values, among other things, the viability that the students present.
“There were some plans here tonight that actually went number by number and line by line,” Muenzen said.
The panel of judges also included Alec Mitchell ’12, who works as incubator coordinator at Rev Ithaca Startup Works; Laurie Greenberg ’80, a media marketing entrepreneur and former vice president of multimedia sales at ESPN; senior graduate student Erin Joyce, director of multiplatform content at Showtime; and Barry Mendelson ’65, president and CEO at Mendelson Entertainment Group LLC.
There are plans to continue the event in years to come, Roberts said.
“It connects our students with our alumni, and man, that’s our outcome,” he said.