College of Media collaborates with University, community partners to offer local children access to new opportunities in education, technology

Steve Hall with Boys & Girls Club

The College of Media is collaborating with University of Illinois and community partners to present educational workshops to local children this spring as part of a new public engagement effort.

The collaboration between the College of Media and the Center for Social and Behavioral Science focuses on creating hands-on educational content appropriate for 3rd- and 4th-grade students in the Don Moyer Boys & Girls Club of Champaign, which is housed at the Martens Center in Champaign. 

“One of the College of Media’s priorities is to enhance our activities in public engagement and access,” said Jason P. Chambers, associate dean for diversity, equity, and inclusion, and professor of advertising. “Faculty and staff were eager to sign up to share their expertise in fun, engaging ways with schoolchildren.” 

Boys & Girls Club studentsCollege of Media faculty are leading four programs in April, offering new opportunities in education and technology and helping students understand different media topics.

“This first-time collaboration between the University and the Martens Center is not just exciting but a big game changer for community outreach and education, providing a unique opportunity for the University of Illinois to deliver transformative experiences to our community,” said Paige Duncan, community engagement specialist at the Center for Social and Behavioral Science.

Duncan said the College of Media was selected as the pilot module for the CSBS area of programming because their goal is to give elementary school students an introduction to a breadth of science learning opportunities, including different concepts from the social and behavioral sciences.

“We are excited about the College of Media’s programming because it gives children a window into the making of different types of media, which is likely to increase their media literacy. We hope they will become better consumers of media—for example, in terms of judging the veracity of advertisements and movies,” Duncan said.

Steve Hall, senior lecturer in advertising, held the first workshop, about "Advertising for Good."

"It was a remarkable opportunity to help [the children] learn how they have the ability to positively impact the world with their ideas, creativity, and advertising," Hall said. "The kids were super energetic, enthusiastic, always asking questions, and full of insights."

The joint effort between the University units, the Champaign Park District, and the Boys & Girls Club is part of the Chancellor’s Call-To-Action Campus-Community Compact to Accelerate Social Justice

The College of Media workshops include:

Advertising for Good
Steve Hall, senior lecturer in advertising
Students will learn how advertising and creativity can be used for public and social good through the power of storytelling. Plus, a fun, hands-on creative challenge will allow students to generate their own ideas to create a positive impact in their own schools and communities. 

Fly Like Harry Potter: How Green Screens Work
Victor Font, lecturer in media and cinema studies and Susan Muirhead, advertising staff and adjunct faculty
This hands-on workshop teaches students about the green screen process and how this technique is used in films. Students will be able to dress up in costume, pretend to fly on a broomstick, and then watch the editing process to remove the green background creating the final effect. 

Fruit campaigns

Advertising Literacy
Michelle Nelson, professor and head of the Charles H. Sandage Department of Advertising, and Marisa Peacock, lecturer in advertising
This session will provide students with an understanding of the purpose and fun one can have with advertising. Through discussion, brainstorming, and hands-on activities, students will create an ad promoting healthy food products. 

Interviewing Genesis Bryant

Introduction to Journalism and the Role of Reporters
Colleen King, director of the Richard and Leslie Frank Center for Leadership and Innovation in Media and clinical assistant professor in journalism, and Faith Lee, Mark L. Brandt Public Engagement Fellow and a junior in journalism
Following a presentation about what a journalist does, Genesis Bryant, a guard on the Illinois women’s basketball team will join the student group via Zoom for a Q&A. Using a guided worksheet, students will then write a story about the student athlete.

(Pictured at top: Steve Hall, senior lecturer in advertising, leads Boys & Girls Club students through a workshop on "Advertising for Good." Photos by Paige Duncan.)

—Kelly Youngblood