Across the way Otter Student Union, nestled between wings of freshman housing, lies a small building, Wave Hall.
On most days it is there you’ll find Micah Stamps, a dedicated third-year cinematic arts major, school tour guide, and production manager of California State University, Monterey Bay’s student-run entertainment network, Otter Media.
Stamps has turned Otter Media, the once dormant student service, into an active and engaging organization, pumping out content and concerts all created by and for the students.
As a student at CSUMB, Stamps has felt the university wasn’t catering to the type of student he is.
“I want Otter Media to be for everyone, especially the student who always forgets their homework, the student who is only there for video equipment and the student who is simply just existing in college and going through the motions,” said Stamps.
In response, Stamps has been using Otter Media as a space where he could serve the type of student he is by offering a platform where their voices can be expressed creatively without restriction.
“I have been hard at work developing this theory of alternative media that producing and releasing work doesn’t have to be for monetary value. In America that doesn’t exist because everything has to be for profit and we want to give a different tone to that.”
Through this direction, he has created various productions and concerts, while operating “The Current,” a radio station used by numerous students and student organizations to express their voices in a free, creative format, just as Stamps originally intended.
One of Otter Media’s largest projects that he was the creative mind behind was “Game Show,” a TV production that brought students and staff together to compete in a series of competitions based on game shows of the 1970s.
The production was led and run solely by students, a fact Stamps takes pride in. He says it’s been one of his major accomplishments at CSUMB as he believes his leadership, along with the help of his crew, has helped prove Otter Media to be a major player in student engagement on campus.
“For the first time since the pandemic, students were able to show off that 20-year-olds in college could actually pull off something as grand as Game Show,” said Stamps. “We even had a live studio audience on purpose because we wanted to bring people in to see that they can have an impact by getting involved.”
While he is proud of the project’s success and his personal accomplishment, the long and arduous process of getting it all done left him feeling more critical about how the university approaches student projects.
“I had to know everything (about how to put it on) in and out , in a way that I think the average student wouldn’t ever have been educated to know,” said Stamps. “It really demonstrated to me that to do something on this campus, you have to go above and beyond, which is really unfortunate because it feels like the university doesn’t want you to do things.”
Stamps feels CSUMB lacks student engagement in terms of entertainment. He’d like to create a grander vision of how entertainment is viewed and created on and off campus.
To help with his vision, Stamps has partnered with local access and radio stations like KZSC in Santa Cruz, KAZU, MCAET and AMP here in the Monterey Bay area to promote work by Otter Media and create new content that he hopes will show that an entertainment industry can established here by students.
“My hope for the future is for people to be driving past a film set in Monterey and say ‘Oh, yeah there was something being filmed there last week,’ because that ends up speaking volumes to people that projects are happening and being filmed in Monterey,” said Stamps.
In many ways, Stamps’ views on the future of Otter Media are ambitious, however, there is no denying that the voices of students deeply matter to him as he wants to continue championing them for the rest of his time at CSUMB and beyond.
“Micah Stamps can be just another student,” he said. “What’s important to me when I leave CSUMB is that the program of Otter Media stays available to all students regardless of major because of how important it has become for the students.”