Service-learning on steroids! CreateAthon returns to in-person collaboration
(CreateAthon students present a proposal to the leadership of Slyderz Baseball, a local youth-development nonprofit)
The somewhat generic-sounding course title “Nonprofit Project Development” hides the true nature of one of VCU’s more popular service-learning courses. More commonly known as CreateAthon@VCU, this Mass Communication class culminates in a 24-hour frenzy of unbridled creativity and focused service.
The priceless “deliverable” that results from this effort: pro bono marketing and communications services to nonprofits that otherwise would not be able to afford them
Though CreateAthon@VCU was established 15 years ago by the Interim Director of the Richard T. Robertson School of Media and Culture, Peyton Rowe, this year’s event marks a couple important milestones: 1) it was the first in-person CreateAthon held since 2019, and 2) it was overseen by a new professor leading the course, Jess Collins, who took over from Rowe.
Collins talked about how service-learning classes like the CreateAthon are integral to student success. ““My goal as a professor is to always give [my students] assignments that will set them apart when they’re getting job interviews,” Collins said. “When they’re talking to people, I want them to feel like they’re proud of their work and that it can give them a bit of an edge.”
The CreateAthon provides a unique opportunity for students across disciplines to work together and to complete a hand-on project with people outside VCU. This year’s volunteers ranged from alums and mentors, including a communications team from the Institute for Contemporary Art at VCU, to students who plan to seek careers in fields from journalism to business.
Read a full account of the 2022 CreateAthon in this VCU News story.