Classes offer unexpected experiences


Shannon Yardley

Byway Brewing, located only blocks from the Hammond campus, is the destination for an onsite tasting for the Sales and Service Beverage Operations class. Photo by Shannon Yardley

Some college students toil through their days, reading boring books and listening to boring lectures.

But PNW offers a variety of full-credit classes that provide an antidote to boring lectures.

Consider Sales and Service for Beverage Operations, HTM 49101. Its students drink alcoholic beverages for homework.

“It’s a fun class,” said Ally Szakacs, senior Hospitality and Tourism Management student. “It’s a hands-on experience. Not only do we get to try all types of alcohol, but we get verified through the state through an alcohol awareness program.”

Along with drinking alcohol, students become better informed about different alcoholic beverages through a combination of lectures and labs.

“We met for the first six weeks in class,” said Szakacs. “After those six weeks we [started] doing Zoom meetings and four labs that we meet in-person for. One [lab] is a white wine tasting, one is red wine, one is a brewery visit to ByWay in Hammond and our last one will be a spirits tasting.”

For students under the legal drinking age, try taking Yoga, FM 10500, in which students develop a deeper understanding of themselves.

Through this course they [relieve] stress and test better because they’re breathing and have more focus,” said Joanna Sypudt, yoga instructor. “[Also] they say their back doesn’t hurt as bad or they’re not fighting with their boyfriends as much.”

To get these benefits students do yoga and practice journaling.

“Students keep a journal of personal experiences,” Sypudt said. “They become more aligned with their feelings. Throughout the course, they read about the eight-fold path of yoga that incorporates how we live in everyday life and how to treat the world.”

Students looking for a course that better simulates a workplace should try Practicum in Radio and Television, COM 43400. Students produce a show called The Roundtable Perspective that airs on Lakeshore PBS on Fridays at 8:30 p.m.

“The class is a TV production house where [students] produce a show for the Communication and Creative Arts Department,” said Mary Beth O’Connor, communication professor. “It airs over PBS and goes through Northwest Indiana and Chicago on Fridays and Sundays.”

Even if a student isn’t a broadcasting major, there is still plenty for them to be involved in.

“Students do all the work, such as camera and production,” O’Connor said. “Then there’s advertising students who promote the show. [Also] there’s a social media and multimedia group.”

These are just a few of many interactive courses offered at PNW.

Several other unusual classes – Dinner and a Movie, which involves talking about a film over dinner; Zumba, an exercise class, and Educational Study Cruise and/or Air-Land Tour, which involves learning through travel – have been temporarily suspended as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.