The H. W. Hoover Initiative in Environmental Media is a unique opportunity for Kent State University students from any discipline to engage with their community on world class environmental issues facing their local watershed. Sponsored by the Herbert W. Hoover Foundation, Environmental Media began in 2011 as a collaboration between Kent State University at Stark and the University of Miami in Florida’s Arnold Center for Confluent Media Studies. Together, these two groups have developed a program that allows students and faculty the opportunity to provide a service to their community by creating a short documentary highlighting the challenges – and providing solutions – to the area’s most pressing environmental concerns.
The course is multidisciplinary, and is designed to allow students from all majors the opportunity to work with an awarding winning staff of faculty and consultants to develop a short documentary focusing on the issues that affect where we live, work, and learn. Though the instructors come from Biology, Journalism & Mass Communication, and Electronic Media, it is intended to attract a mix of majors and allow anyone the opportunity to learn valuable environmental communication skills. The course is an attractive elective for those students seeking an upper division class to help them develop a well rounded academic transcript. It is an excellent choice for students in majoring in Communication, Conservation, Geology, Geography, Sociology, and Art, among others.
Within the classroom, students team up to develop a short documentary that focuses on one area of environmental concern. Through the instructors and community partners, they learn about some of the issues that are currently facing the local environment, and are then provided with the tools to develop, edit, and produce a high quality short film to be shown to the public. These films are premiered to their peers through a campus wide exhibition, highlighted on the various social media sites developed through the Initiative, and entered into the annual Canton Film Festival. To see all of the films from previous classes please visit out Vimeo site.
In addition to the Environmental Media course, the Initiative also:
• Sponsors at least one project a year to create an educational campaign for an environmental issue related to Ohio
• Provides grants for Kent State Stark faculty members to research and design collaborative courses that incorporate environmental issues
• Sponsors screenings of environmental films from celebrated filmmakers
• Sponsors environmental short film/new media festivals for student filmmakers with cash awards for the winners
• Brings world-class environmental experts to Kent State Stark to mentor students
• Provides Kent State Stark student exchange opportunities with the University of Miami, in addition to classroom research expeditions; and
• Collaborates with the University of Miami’s Arnold Center for Confluent Media Studies to create and deliver media about relevant environmental themes
The results of these projects and more can be found on our website, and through our sister social media sites. Stay tuned for more exciting news from the H. W. Hoover Initiative In Environmental Media team!