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Media Students Use Skills to Benefit Nonprofits

Thirteen communication students created public service announcements and other videos for five community-based organizations on Long Island, tackling issues such as suicide prevention, anti-bullying, and pet adoption.

The videos are the culmination of their work in the Media Action Projects class, offered every fall by the Department of Radio, Television, Film, where students use their digital media and production skills to serve the community by helping Long Island nonprofits with their communication and public relations needs.

Organizations that benefited most recently from the students’ pro-bono work include the Long Island Crisis Center, the Long Island Coalition Against Bullying, and the Forgotten Friends of Long Island.

[box type=”info”] See the students’ completed videos.[/box]

“I was very grateful to have the opportunity to participate in the course and work with such a great group of talented students to create content that can directly benefit the Long Island community,” said Jenna Beneski ’15, a television/video and business major. She, along with classmates Erik Freitas and Rashad Prescod, created four PSAs for the Long Island Crisis Center that centered on cyberbullying, HIV testing, volunteer appreciation, as well as a video profile of the center.

“I feel extremely proud to have been able to work with this dedicated organization and together develop videos that can help expand its message that it’s okay to ask for help,” she added. “During this process I learned a lot about the difference between creating content for a client versus creating content for myself, and just how exciting and difficult that can be.”

All students, who took the Media Action Projects class as part of their senior thesis, spent several months in the fall working in groups of two or three with their assigned organization, learning about its mission and collaborating with its leaders on a vision for the videos.   Throughout the semester, guest speakers including Kara Koch ’07 of Sesame Workshop International and Mike Cruz ’02 and Rob Simone of Hiccup Media NYC stopped by campus to talk to the students and help review rough cuts of video during the editing process.

“This class really gives our students a unique opportunity. They work directly with clients to realize ideas and goals with the use of media, and they also learn the importance of community activism,” said Prof. Doug Morrow, who has taught the class, alternately with Prof. Aashish Kumar, for the last seven fall semesters. Between them, their students have produced free innovative public-service, promotional, and educational videos for about 50 local organizations with limited budgets.

“Throughout the process, you demonstrated professionalism and high quality in both your business demeanor and the final products you delivered,” wrote Fran Karliner, director of development for the Long Island Crisis Center, in a letter to Beneski and her student partners.  “I hope you came to understand the work that non-for-profits do in the community every day and how your contribution will ultimately benefit the people we will be able to reach through your work.”

Pictured above: Prof. Doug Morrow (right) with the Fall 2014 Media Action Projects class. 

Check out this Flickr album chronicling the students’ work through the semester:

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