UC Merced senior Maryam Ebadi Trumpf was baffled when she heard negative comments about her newly adopted hometown.
Trumpf, a transfer student from Walnut Creek, fell in love with UC Merced, the surrounding area and everything they offer. So she and two friends decided to fight negative perceptions by focusing on issues and positive aspects of the community.
Their platform is the Central Valley Talk Show, which premiered in September on channels 95 and 97 in the Merced area. Episodes run at 8 p.m. Fridays and are available on the show’s website. Visitors to the website can participate in a forum and suggest topics for future shows.
For Trumpf, the 30-minute show is a natural extension of her involvement in community service. She is the founder of the American Women Making a Difference Club at UC Merced, a student organization that helps people in need.
Trumpf and two friends, fellow UC Merced students Danielle Carmack and Homa Kamin, thought the community was in need of some positive press. The idea of a talk show was sparked by news stories lamenting Merced’s economy and complaints there was nowhere to shop, eat or play.
Trumpf’s experience was completely different. She said she chose UC Merced because “I felt this feeling of home. … It was everything I was looking for.”
After transferring to the campus in August 2010, she found plenty to do and a variety of restaurants, stores and destinations to visit in the area. She wanted others to recognize the same opportunities.
“I was sick of hearing all these negative things,” said Trumpf, 25, a political science major.
She and her friends view the talk show as a way to promote the campus and community to the area and potential UC Merced students.
The first few episodes featured Merced Mayor Bill Spriggs and new UC Merced Chancellor Dorothy Leland. Topics in the 10-episode run include “How to Dress,” “Best Food Places” and “County Resources.”
Trumpf, who hosts the show, said the team chooses topics based on “what people want to know.” This season, that ranges from the goals of Chancellor Leland to how to dress for an interview.
All of the current episodes were shot on location. Next season, the talk show should have the resources of a TV studio now under construction in a Merced warehouse. The students also are looking for a show sponsor.
They already have fans.
Robin DeLugan, assistant professor of anthropology at UC Merced and faculty adviser for American Women Making a Difference, said she fully supports the work that Trumpf and her team are doing with the Central Valley Talk Show.
“I am so proud to follow the many accomplishments of Maryam Ebadi Trumpf,” DeLugan said. “She is an exemplar of how UC Merced students can connect to our local community and truly make a contribution.”