UT joins Stanford in multimedia initiative

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UT is one of two universities in the nation participating in a new campus initiative called The Creative Activist Network, sponsored by Participant Media and Austin-based nonprofit, Students of the World.

The Creative Activist Network (CAN), which was also launched at Stanford University, is a new organization on campus providing students with opportunities to improve their multimedia skills while creating a portfolio dedicated to a pressing social issue. Students of the World works to assist student-geared causes through social media participation while Participant Media uses social media and media to enhance awareness of real world issues.

“CAN provides creative students the opportunity to build their portfolios, whether in video, writing, photography or graphics,” said Melissa Reese, communications and media manager for Students of the World. “CAN also gives students the chance to create work about causes and issues that they are passionate about, as well as collaborate with other creative students who care about the same things.”

This semester, in addition to creating work for the chapter’s portfolio, students will compete against Stanford for the chance to have their work distributed on Participant Media’s social action website, TakePart.com. 

Shea Flynn, advertising and allied health professions senior, said she has been overwhelmed by the initiative and passion she’s seen in the members so far. 

“All of our projects this semester are pretty incredible,” Flynn said. “They all have big ideas that I think are going to contribute to an outstanding portfolio to represent the Creative Activist Network here at UT.”

Radio-television-film junior Minerva Zapata and her team are working on a project that will portray the issue of hunger. Zapata described this year’s members of the organization as “guinea pigs” for the network, but said she is confident that all of the members will create meaningful work.

“I feel like the group that we have right now is pretty good,” Zapata said. “The future for this organization seems pretty bright because the students involved in the group provide creative and unique talents that will allow this program to grow.” 

According to Reese, two more chapters at universities on the East Coast are in the process of becoming officially recognized.

“Our hope is that the UT chapter of CAN becomes a long-term role model for new CAN chapters across the country,” Reese said. “The creative talent at UT is really strong, and we would love to see UT’s chapter leading the pack in innovative, creative media about issues and causes.

Printed on Thursday, February 14, 2013 as: Media group presents social issues