Students Premiere Socially Responsible Media

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Media Contact: Margaret Lutz | mlutz@csusm.edu

An innovative Visual and Performing Arts course at California State University San Marcos (CSUSM) is empowering students to learn about and serve the needs of their community from behind the lens of a video camera. On Tuesday, May 10 at 5:00 p.m., Video in the Community students will premiere five short films, which were created to educate and inspire the community through socially responsible media.

Developed and taught by professional filmmaker Professor Kristine Diekman, Video in the Community is a course that connects students with nonprofits to identify critical social problems and produce high-quality videos that bring about social awareness and change. This year's partnering organizations include Palomar Family YMCA, Vista Community Clinic, Interfaith Community Services and the San Diego County Office of Education Foster Youth and Homeless Education Services Program.

"It's a two way street," said Diekman, "one that goes beyond the course and truly speaks to the heart and vision of CSUSM to simultaneously develop the strengths of our students and our community."

Since the course's introduction in 2003, Diekman's students have filmed, edited, and produced more than 30 videos for different nonprofits at no-cost to the partnering organizations. Whether creating public service announcements or an educational video, students help bring awareness to a variety of social issues from homelessness and gang violence to education, health, and nutrition.

"It's an inspiring experience to hear and capture the stories, struggles, and triumphs of people in my community, and then, using their testimony, produce a video that empowers others to take action," said senior art and technology student Lauren Radel.

Working in a production team of four, Radel and her classmates partnered with the Transitional Youth Academy (TYA), a gang prevention and intervention program for at-risk teens. To emphasize the positive impact the program has on its youth, the crew of students filmed the video from the perspective of the teens. In addition to the final three minute video which was produced to share with potential donors, the team edited 15 hours of interview footage to create several short vignettes of student stories that the nonprofit could also use for promotional purposes.

"With funding sources dwindling, this is the time when we really need to shine and communicate the value of our program," said Jeannine Guarino, program manager for TYA.

For many of the partnering nonprofits, like TYA, finding the resources or funding to develop a professional video had previously been well out of their reach. Through this unique course, video services are provided for free to help nonprofits connect with broader audiences and share their mission.

"Using socially responsible media to drive civic engagement is not just about advancing one nonprofit's mission, but rather advancing our entire community forward and affecting positive social change in North County," said Guarino. "Video in the Community is an important catalyst making that change possible."

Bringing together students from diverse fields of study strengthens the creative process and produces a well-rounded video, explained Diekman. More than 250 undergraduates from a variety of majors including business, psychology, computer science, and performing arts have taken the upper-division humanities course, which is offered each year for the spring semester. On average, students dedicate upwards of 70 hours to create a three to five minute professional video, which is in addition to classroom instruction and online writing assignments.

"Video in the Community is nothing short of inspiring," reflected Radel. "It's given me a perspective that I would never have experienced in a traditional classroom setting and enabled me to use my passion for art to empower positive change."

     What:     Video in the Community Premiere Night: free screening
                   of five student-produced, socially responsible short films

     When:     Tuesday, May 10, 2011 from 5:00 to 6:00 p.m.

     Where:    California State University San Marcos
                    Arts Building, Room 111
                    333 South Twin Oaks Valley Road, San Marcos
                    Visit www.csusm.edu/guide for campus maps and directions

About California State University San Marcos
California State University San Marcos combines the ambiance of a mid-sized, personal, modern campus with the unequaled value of the California State University. Since its founding in 1989, the campus has distinguished itself. Students benefit from the latest facilities and equipment, a superb faculty that enjoys teaching, and a rigorous academic program that prepares students for a successful life in and out of the workplace. A recent survey reported that our annual spending in the region was $161 million, generating a total impact of $307 million on the regional economy. Eighty-five percent of CSUSM's alumni stay in the region. CSU San Marcos is located on a 304-acre hillside overlooking the city of San Marcos. It is 15 miles east of the ocean; just 30 miles north of downtown San Diego.