iMedia students showcase their international projects for the public good
During their Jan. 23 presentations in Turner Theatre, graduate students in the Interactive Media master's program shared their Winter Term “fly-in” projects and their experiences traveling to Costa Rica, Haiti, Nicaragua and the Netherlands.
As part of their Winter Term “fly-in” experience, graduate students in the Interactive Media master’s program divided into groups to visit Costa Rica, Haiti, Nicaragua and the Netherlands, collecting content for a monthlong project for the public good. Upon their stateside return, the four teams built robust online presences for their respective clients. One group also created a three-minute documentary highlighting a minority language project to be screened at the European Capital of Culture celebration later this year.
The students’ efforts and completed projects were celebrated with formal presentations held on Jan. 23 in Turner Theatre, where the four groups discussed details about their trips, their project objectives, and how the experience impacted them. A photo gallery of the presentations is available on the School of Communications’ Flickr page. The event was also livestreamed for clients, family, friends and iMedia alumni.
After a week to 10 days of collecting and gathering content abroad, the students returned to campus to create websites, promotional videos, social media platforms and other online marketing tools. The groups essentially overhauled their respective clients’ presence online.
This is the ninth installment of the iMedia Winter Term “fly-in” experience, part of the service-learning class titled Interactive Project for the Public Good. Since the course’s inception, Elon graduate students have visited 15 different countries across the world, from Iceland and Ireland to Cuba and the Dominican Republic.
For many of the students, the experiences go beyond just gathering multimedia content.
“Indescribable” is how Kyndall DySard summed up her time in Haiti, where she served as a project manager for one iMedia group. The Wake Forest native said the opportunity to learn about Haitian culture and the country’s residents has allowed her to “see the world with new eyes.”
“I can’t imagine a more perfect trip, with more perfect advisors and a more perfect team,” she said. “It was just an incredible experience and it’s something you just can’t fully understand how it’s going to impact your life until you go there, you come back, you work, and you present your project here in Turner Theatre.”
“All the students will tell you how these experiences are life-changing and they really are,” said David Copeland, A.J. Fletcher Professor and director of the graduate program, at the conclusion of the presentations.
While visiting Cap-Haïtien, Haiti, a group of five students – self-named Team Cap-Haïtien Sensations – collaborated with Haitian Heritage & Friends of Haiti (HHFoH), a nonprofit organization based in Charlotte. The organization is committed to strengthening and improving the Haitian community in Charlotte, as well as rebuilding Haiti, which still feels the adverse effects of a 2010 earthquake. Cap-Haïtien is home to more than 750,000 residents and the small, coastal city is overpopulated. More than 80 percent of the city lives in poverty, surviving on little to no income each year, which has led to numerous health challenges.
During the trip, the students compiled photos, videos and interviews for a new website, www.hhfoh.org. The new website is designed to attract volunteers, donors and partners which will help the organization with its newest project: building a new medical clinic in a rural part of Cap-Haïtien.
On hand to watch Team Cap-Haïtien Sensations’ presentation was Sabine Guerrier, president and founder of HHFoH. Guerrier was heavily involved in the iMedia project, assisting the students both stateside and while abroad. Ultimately, the group said its objective was to redesign the organization’s online presence to match “Sabine’s mission and vision.”
“She’s been with us the whole time, and it’s nice for this to come full circle and have her see the final product,” DySard said.
Kyndall DySard – Project Manager
Nick Cook ’15 – Graphic Designer
Arvanna Smart – Content Writer
Sarah Donahue – Programmer
Gardy Swengbe – Videographer
Nicole Triche – Faculty Advisor
Maggie Mullikin – Staff Advisor
While visiting the city of Granada in Nicaragua, a group of seven iMedia students worked with Puedo Leer, a nonprofit organization that provides lending libraries and reading programs to the children of Granada. Fittingly, the organization with a mission to create a love of reading among children has a name that translates to “I can read” in English.
While abroad, the team gathered photos, videos and interviews for a soon-to-be-launched website designed to attract volunteers and increase donations. According to Mara Frontera ’17, the group’s project manager, the team wanted to overhaul the organization’s previous online presence that was too reliant on text. The students incorporated numerous visuals into the new multi-language site, utilizing the textures and colors of the country into their work.
Frontera and her team members said they were welcomed with “open arms” by the community members they met, “making sure we would fall in love with the country like they had fallen in love with the country.”
Mara Frontera ’17 – Project Manager
Trey Caldwell – Graphic Designer
Kendra Sharpe – Content Strategist
Tiffany Taylor – Videographer
Dexter Jenkins – UX/UI Designer
James Miralia ’17 – Photographer
Chandler Cates-Wessel ’17 – Web Designer
Phillip Motley – Lead Advisor
David Copeland – Secondary Advisor
Team Life Through Language, a group of seven iMedia students, traveled to the city of Leeuwarden in the Netherlands to collaborate with Afûk, an organization that hopes to share and connect minority languages and cultures throughout Europe. The team worked with Afûk on the language pavilion project, which is part of the European Capital of Culture celebration that will take place in Leeuwarden from April to October. The language pavilion is a space for patrons to learn about and experience minority languages from across Europe.
The team created a short documentary highlighting interactions and expressions of 17 different languages, including Dutch, Frisian, German, Spanish and Dutch Sign Language. This undertaking was “challenging to edit,” pointed out Kelsey Lane, the group’s lead video editor.
Additionally, the students created a poster to promote the documentary, featuring the individuals who were interviewed and the languages they spoke, as well as a trifold with instructions for patrons to learn how to order from the pavilion’s cafe in sign language. The pavilion’s wait staff members are deaf or hearing impaired.
Team Life Through Language likely had the best fun fact from its time abroad: students were housed in a jail while in the Netherlands, really. The students and advisors stayed at the Alibi Hostel, a former prison building. For more information about the Netherlands team, visit its project website.
Jess Farmer ’16 – Project Manager
Kelsey Lane ’17 – Lead Video Editor, Photographer, Blogger
Rhett Lawson ’17 – Video Producer, Photographer
Case Gardner – Video Blogger, Assistant Videographer
Tavarius Felton – Assistant Videographer
Imoni Tull – Social Media Specialist, Graphic Designer, Blogger
Amanda Travis – Graphic Designer
Douglas Kass – Lead Advisor
Derek Lackaff – Secondary Advisor
A group of five students traveled to San José, Costa Rica, to work with the Federación de Organizaciones Sociales (FOS), an umbrella organization for Costa Rican non-governmental organizations and social enterprises. The team created materials to launch a new social business initiative FOS has created in collaboration with the United Nations to incubate 16 new social businesses in line with the 2030 UN goals for sustainable development. This initiative is called RedFos, and it will host an upcoming competition to select the 16 participating businesses.
To assist the initiative’s launch, the Elon team developed visual branding, marketing content and a microsite to promote the content to social entrepreneurs. The students created an attractive website and logo, as well as five public service advertisements that will be broadcasted in the country.
Ashley Sugg – Project Manager
Juwan Johnson – Photo Lead
Dominique Young – Design Lead
Lee McPhatter – Video Lead
Kaylin Skipwith – Developer Lead
Amanda Sturgill – Faculty Advisor
Vanessa Bravo – Cultural Advisor