For the past three and a half months, students at Rutgers University have been working on podcasts to improve their peers' environmental behavior. Though the task hasn't been simple, one professor has taken on the courageous role of leading the class to success.
Finishing her second semester teaching the class, Dr. Caron Chess has aided and succeeded in triggering her scholars' creativity by allowing the students to choose an environmental topic about which they feel passionate. With other Rutgers students as their audience, the students are composing comical ways to portray their messages through audio and video.
One group is focusing on the idea of buying used clothing to help protect Mother Earth while another is promoting an eco-friendly take-out container called the Boomerang Box. The freedom of the class has allowed each group to insert a form of college humor into their videos. In the pilot class Chess taught in the spring 2009 semester, topics included tapping out bottled water, giving your dorm an eco-friendly makeover and riding a bike versus driving a car to class.
The students need little to no experience in video editing and are provided with a hand-held video camera, a connectable microphone and a voice recorder to collect their footage. Chess and two teaching assistants aid the students during the editing process to suggest changes, ensure quality work and to answer any technical questions.
So has the hard work paid off? Students will upload their completed podcasts to the Ru Ecocast
channel on YouTube where Rutgers students and faculty can view them. At the end of the semester, they are given a screening party where other members of the Rutgers community come together to meet the makers and walk the "green" carpet. In addition, they are shown at formal presentations, open-houses and are often seen on the Rutgers television channel.
Each podcast holds a special message to inspire students to make some kind of beneficial change toward the environment. They prove that being "environmentally friendly" does not mean you have to unplug your refrigerator, become a vegetarian or give up your car.