Ethan Gabriel ’22 poised to bring fresh perspective to Elon Student Television

Gabriel has returned to ESTV as station manager after a year of personal development.

When Ethan Gabriel ‘22 was asked to apply for station manager of Elon Student  Television (ESTV), it came as a surprise. He had returned to ESTV after taking a year off from the student organization to work on film projects and build his portfolio.

From a young age, Gabriel had a passion for television, which fueled his pursuit of a film career.

In high school, Gabriel was a member of Elon Academy, a program for low-income and first-generation college students in Alamance County. After exploring many colleges around his hometown, he inevitably chose Elon University, where he knew he wanted to be a cinema and television arts major, especially after his mother told him he watched too much television to do nothing with it.

In the School of Communications, Gabriel was told to “hit the ground running.” Upon joining ESTV, he rapidly climbed the ladder. By spring of his sophomore year, Gabriel had landed a position as E-Talk show producer.

Following sophomore year, COVID-19 gave Gabriel an opportunity to focus on cinema projects and developing his portfolio. He is grateful that he got noticed through the work he did in his time off. And now that he’s in charge, he’s ready to tackle the challenge.

“You think you know what you’re doing, but sometimes things can still go wrong,” Gabriel said. “Despite the excellent turnout at the organization fair, getting people in areas where we need them is a major issue right now.”

And COVID-19 caused problems for the organization that the staff is still trying to figure out. Gabriel said student interest in ESTV was high last year, but because of space restrictions in the organization’s office and in the studios, it was difficult to rotate first-year students in. And so retaining that enthusiasm is a challenge Gabriel said the station must address this year.

Although the smaller crew sizes provided increased exposure for organization members, it made it harder for people to join. Everyone learned how to be more efficient with fewer people.

“We struggled during the pandemic to limit people because we wanted to invite everyone,” Gabriel said.

After discussing the role with Staci Saltz, a lecturer in cinema and television arts who also advises ESTV, Gabriel said he saw the position as a way to test himself in a leadership role.

He took a lot of self-development classes during his hiatus from ESTV. In his “Producing for the Screen” course, students were able to take on roles that they personally wanted to pursue later in life. Gabriel learned then that his aptitudes include planning, producing and organizing the elements of show production. His new role, he said, allows all of his skills to shine.

And so he advises underclassmen to “just take the leap of faith” when it comes to joining organizations such as ESTV, just as he did three years ago.

“Definitely try to join a handful of organizations on campus and go to a meeting,” Gabriel said. “There is no pressure, and you get to meet others with the same interests. Take advantage of all Elon has to offer.”