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(December 14, 2000, Gazette)

Grenfell talk show a hit

Dave and LarsDave and Lars are ready to entertain.

By Jim Gash
SPARK Correspondent

Students at Sir Wilfred Grenfell College in Corner Brook might have thought they were witnessing a miracle last Friday afternoon – the return of John Lennon. The legendary ex-Beatle was interviewed on the 51-minute Friday Lunch Hour Show with Dave and Lars, the college’s very own interactive talk show.

Lars Davidson and Dave Elliott (along with co-producer Brent Greenham) have come up with this innovative way of strengthening student awareness and togetherness at the Corner Brook campus. As opposed to a campus newspaper or a campus radio station, Mr. Davidson and Mr. Elliott have found that the most effective way of creating a close-knit, well-informed student body is by allowing all students to participate in the communication process.

“Here at Grenfell, the direct approach works best,” said Mr. Davidson, alluding to Grenfell’s 1,100 students.

So what exactly happens on the show at Grenfell’s Student Centre cafeteria every Friday afternoon? Last week’s show featured several guests, a never-ending stream of improvisational comedy, and several audience giveaways. The contests and spontaneous humor kept students in their seats as they listened in on enlightening interviews with Grenfell Student Union president
Jade Mahoney and “Professor of the Week”
Dr. Ken Jacobsen.

“We interview one professor a week in the hope that students will get to know that person on a more personal level, thus making him or her more accessible to the student body,” said Mr. Davidson. “This is a great opportunity to open things up in the university.”

With one show a week and only a small number of professors at the college, the hope is that students will quickly become familiar with a diverse group of faculty members. The interviews offer insight into the professor’s background and personality, and the light-hearted banter makes for an attentive audience. Dr. Jacobsen, for example, admitted that he was chosen as “Professor of the Week” because he was the only professor in his office. The audience applauded as Mr. Davidson and Mr. Elliot probed into Dr. Jacobsen’s participation in the recent strike action. They asked him about the game of road hockey that he and other professors played on the picket line and about his new-found addiction to Tim Horton’s crullers.

Jade Mahoney, the student union president, informed the audience about campus affairs in the aftermath of the strike, her meeting with Memorial president Dr. Axel Meisen, and her five-toed socks.

Students were further entertained by the hosts’ in-depth interrogation of a guest posing as rock superstar John Lennon, though the guest himself repeatedly announced he was not the former Beatle.

The show’s producers said the feedback from the show has been incredible. Mr. Davidson, Mr. Elliott and Mr. Greenham are quick to share the credit. They say the show would not be possible without the help of sound technician Elizabeth Pullin, “best girl” Dana Puddicombe, “our girl Friday” Jen Thornhill, the “man with a thousand faces” Greg House, and, of course, Grenfell’s maintenance staff. And who could forget the canine contingent? “Buddy Holly” entertained the audience with enthusiastic tail-wagging and obedient devotion to his masters.

One might think the show came about through the college’s theatre program. While both Mr. Davidson and Mr. Elliott have acting experience and the show’s set was contributed by the fine arts department, the hosts stress that the show is put off by students only. They receive no financial support from the university and don’t have a budget. They said the strength of student involvement from the entire Grenfell population is what makes the show great.

In the future, Mr. Davidson and Mr. Elliott hope to have a prime-time Christmas show, and more giveaways. They also hope to make contact with the Memorial campus in St. John’s. Mr. Davidson and Mr. Elliott would like to see their ideas spread across the province to bring the entire university closer together.

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