“Community Service Learning in the CSU System,”a documentary produced for and funded by the CSU Chancellor’s Office, recently won a national Hometown Video Award for best Educational Activities Documentary. The Hometown Video Awards accept nationwide submissions from producers who work at the local level in educational, governmental and community sectors.
The documentary, which began production in April 2006, highlighted community service learning programs and projects throughout the CSU system.
“This was a very comprehensive project involving travel and production at six different campuses geographically located throughout the state and the Carmelitos Housing Project in Long Beach,” said Dave Kelly, a documentarian and the director of Advanced Media Production (AMP) at CSULB, who served as the project’s producer. “My job was to appear at each location with the camera and figure out the best visual aspects of the production and find the best ways to capture them.” He also created the documentary’s narrative structure and conducted many of the on-camera interviews.
More than 25 hours of video were shot for the final 15-minute documentary, along with separate five-minute pieces focusing on the six participating campuses. Kelly personally visited all six campuses – Humboldt State, Chico State, San Francisco State, CSU Monterey Bay, CSU San Marcos and Cal State Northridge – and at his suggestion, Megan Marlena, a CSULB graduate, served as the documentary’s narrator.
Programs at Humboldt State featured engineering students creating exhibits for a local museum and psychology students mentoring elementary school students in need. Chico State had students involved in a Community Volunteers program that included weekend visits to the California Veterans’ Home in Yountville. San Francisco State’s programs involved students working at a discount clothing store for low income people and students creating a commercial PSA campaign for the city’s volunteer recruitment effort to assist homeless services. CSU Monterey Bay programs included work at a drop-in day center for the homeless and the creation of a student film about the causes of homelessness. San Marcos programs promoted computer literacy and training for the area’s adult immigrant population. Cal State Northridge students volunteered to work with local teenagers who were at risk of joining gangs.
“What made this a particularly large project is that we interviewed a lot of people at each of the campuses, more than 65 on-camera interviews total,” said Kelly. “Afterward, you look at what you have and analyze what’s going to go into the final mix. It’s a long process.”
“We were pleased to win,” he added. “I believed we had a very strong contender because of the nature of the program. This particular contest emphasizes involvement in the community, so based on that, I figured we had a chance of winning. Also, I thought the strength of the program was that it was not only visually nice, but it encapsulated a very large effort to serve the state of California.”
Annually, CSU students volunteer approximately 30 million hours, which at minimum wage would be the equivalent of $200 million worth of service.
Kelly accepted the award at the Alliance for Community Media (ACM) National Convention in Minneapolis. Other AMP members who worked on the project included Dave Ohl (who created the graphics and conducted post production), Craig Walker, Ed Price and Jeff Williams. Advanced Media Production is a division of University College and Extension Services at CSULB.