During the final Our Time to Shine positioning panel, staff, alumni, and a student got to speak candidly about what their Trent experience was like at Epitome Pictures in Toronto, home of the Degrassi Community School. Stephen Stohn, a ‘66 Champlain alumni and entertainment lawyer, hosted the panel discussion at his production company’s studio.
Mike Alcott, Champlain Head Master and TIP Director, was also on the panel, as well as Jen Walsh, ‘10 Champlain alumnus and an Enrolment Advisor with the University. I also had the privilege of sitting on the panel to bring the perspective of a current student at Trent University.
Stephen Stohn attended Trent in the early days of its existence and it wasn’t until half way through the school year that he was able to move into the Ron Thom designed Champlain College that is so familiar to us now. He studied Philosophy and Economics, a seemingly strange yet complimentary mix by his own admission, an experience that he chalked up to Trent’s emphasis on interdisciplinarity.
To start the conversation off was Jen Walsh speaking about the importance of the college system at Trent and how it shaped her university experience. Then Stephen Stohn spoke to the sense of community that Trent fostered, a feeling of belonging. I continued on that same line of thought by discussing communities, the diversity of interests one person can have and engage in at Trent.
Mike Alcott then spoke to Trent’s ability to create global leaders in research. Stohn followed up on Mike’s comments by speaking to the leadership skills he had gained from his time at Trent, but did not necessarily think of himself as a leader per se. The group of roughly a dozen alumni taking in the event got to have their say about how much they loved the river, the architecture, the Peterborough community, and Champlain College.
Many of the leadership skills Stohn spoke of was a result of his work outside of the classroom. He was involved in the formation of both Arthur and what is now Trent Radio.
According to Stephen and an article published in Volume 3, Issue 3 of Arthur, the original idea behind Trent Radio was a programme to be called “Radio Free Arthur” to be aired on the popular Peterborough AM station CKPT as well as CHEX-FM (what would later become The Wolf).
After the idea was approved by the Trent University Coordinating Committee (predecessor to the TCSA), Stohn and Geoff O’Brien took the idea to the University’s administration and it turned into the Trent University Radio Service, a weekly programme aired on CHEX-FM from 7p.m.-11p.m. The programme was recorded in the Bata Library’s Language Lab and featured upcoming events, documentaries, lectures, jazz, and classical. Apparently in the early days of Trent, if you wanted something to happen, you had to find the people to help you do it and preserver.
After the positioning panel talk, everyone was invited to take a tour of Epitome Pictures where they film “LA Complex” and “Degrassi: The Next Generation.” It was a delightful and surreal experience for everybody as we walked through the hallways and classrooms of Degrassi, stood at the Bloor-Danforth subway station, walked passed parts of The Eaton Centre and looked out a window to see an entire LA Motel constructed outside.
The positioning panel was an incredibly revealing experience about how Trent has been able to keep its character while undergoing so many different transformations simultaneously.