Media Sandbox Street Team Goes 'Out of the Box' to Help Nonprofits

Posted on: March 11, 2014

FinalFinal SandboxSeven College of Communication Arts and Sciences students spent their spring break driving more than 2,800 miles, stopping in different cities along the way to the South by Southwest (SXSW) Interactive Festival in Austin, Texas, and helping nonprofit organizations with communications and marketing needs.

The students, all members of the Media Sandbox Street Team, dubbed the trip "MSU Out of the Box." They stopped in four cities - Indianapolis, Nashville, Dallas and Austin - and offered their creative services - web design, branding, photography, advertising, public relations and social media marketing - to local nonprofit organizations to help them help others.

The Street Team members who went on the Out of the Box journey include:

  • Carly Belsito, Journalism sophomore
  • Carter Ellwood, Media and Information senior
  • Izak Gracy, Media and Information sophomore
  • Elizabeth Izzo, Advertising junior
  • Reid Masimore, Advertising senior
  • Andrea Raby, Journalism junior
  • Maddie Rosemurgy, Advertising senior

Their cross-country journey began March 1 at 6:30 a.m. at the CAS Building. From there, they traveled to and helped out the following organizations:

  • The Center of Wellness for Urban Women in Indianapolis, Ind., where they updated the organization's logo, re-vamped social media pages, and designed a new website.
  • The Arc Davidson County in Nashville, Tenn., for which the team is designing a new website that they plan to reveal to the organization via a conference call sometime soon.
  • The Beyond Foundation in Dallas, Texas, where they designed a new website, revamped social media pages, and did some video work to be used as promotion.
  • The Mobile Art Program in Austin, Texas, for which they designed a new logo, website and social media pages.

out-of-box-1"Everyone was so appreciative of what we gave them. I loved seeing the reactions from each person. It made all of the sleepless nights and endless drives worth it," Rosemurgy said.

The Street Team started planning and working to raise money for the trip in December.

"It's really important to us that this trip was completely student-run. We came up with the idea, we planned, we asked for help when we needed it, we drove, we worked, we handled hurdle after hurdle and we came out successful," Izzo said. "This trip is unlike anything else that has been done at MSU. The students at this school can do anything. That's what we wanted to show by taking this trip."

During their journey, the team met with MSU alumni in Indianapolis and Austin.

"The Indianapolis Alumni Association catered a dinner for us at the nonprofit we worked with and spent an hour or so just chatting about MSU and what our plans are after graduation. It was great to meet with other Spartans and get their support," Rosemurgy said.

The students rewarded themselves by spending one day, March 7, at the South by Southwest (SXSW) Interactive Festival in Austin, where Karl Gude, graphics editor-in-residence and Media Sandbox faculty member, spoke on a panel March 11.

Throughout the trip, the team charted their progress on their Out of the Box blog. They also shot video each day to be used for a documentary of the trip that also explores how creativity connects us.

"This was one of the best experiences of my life," Raby said. "I couldn't think of doing it without each and every person on that team. Look for our documentary, it's going to be a real look at all the things we did and just how crazy this trip was."

This isn't the first time the Media Sandbox Street Team has traveled off campus to reach out to nonprofit organizations. In November, the team spent a day in Detroit at the Georgia Street Community Collective (GSCC), a community center and garden, doing a creative revamp that left the organization with a new website, updated social media pages, a media release promoting the organization's next event and a sponsorship packet.

The Street Team already is making plans for future trips.

"We are definitely planning on doing more trips like this in the future. It was so successful in so many ways, it's sort of a no-brainer," Belsito said.

The Media Sandbox Street Team consists of group of MSU students from three CAS majors: Advertising + Public Relations, Journalism, and Telecommunication, Information Studies and Media.

For more information on the Media Sandbox and the Street Team, see the Media Sandbox website.

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