Creating the DU Mascot!

The University of Denver will be releasing a new mascot soon after years of development. Boone, the previous mascot, represented a highly controversial figure, and was terminated in 1998 only to be brought back by alumni in 2009 as an unaffiliated mascot. Rufus “Potato” Clarke may be the answer, as a role model, DU graduate and donor, his story is more relatable. A board of influential DU students called the 14ers were brought this task, of changing and rolling out the new mascot. The mascot must represent the DU community and embody its spirit.

Chancellor Chopp in a recent interview stated “So, down the road, if the students were to want a mascot and want to imagine one, that would come after a much greater sense of school spirit.”

http://duclarion.com/2016/02/chancellor-chopp-discusses-dus-future/

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Strategic Communications and Renee Bota

reneeRenee Bota in Nairobi Africa

 

Strategic communications is an expansive field in which just interest is not enough. This interest needs to specified and experienced as strategic communications encompasses many different subgenres. Within Strategic Communication one could work within an agency, a nonprofit, a political campaign, a health organization, etc.

Renee Bota, an Associate Professor of Health & Development Communication at the University of Denver studies, practices, and teaches strategic communication. She entered this field during graduate school where she added a Masters in Health Communication to her Journalism Bachelor’s degree. At grad school Bota did strategic communication work for Health Care Consortium and Comprehensive Health Support System.

Bota was able to develop and hone her interests through school and work, so that after graduate school she knew she wanted to practice Health Communication and has been happy in this field ever since. Renee’s experiences and knowledge of Strategic Communication are valuable for anyone potentially interested in working in this field.

After working within Journalism and Strategic Communications Bota was able to understand the fields and see her passion lied within Health Communication. Internships are necessary within this field before full time work not just for building one’s resume but also for what Renee calls, “interviewing the field”. Where one can learn about different subgenres of their interest and see what appeals to them most.

University of Denver students looking for internships within this field should contact Erika Polson, the director of internships for the Media, Film, and Journalism School.

After receiving her PhD Renee worked as a Fullbright scholar in Zambia studying HIV/AIDS communication. This made her fall in love with both her field and Africa, having continued her work in both.

Zambia is a country in Southern Africa which has long suffered from high HIV and AIDS rates. The culture has a significant stigma against HIV and AIDS which results in people not getting tested. Also Renee worked here at a time when antiretrivirals were low, so Zambians would frequently not get tested because there was no cure even if they were identified as positive.

Bota worked on a communications campaign with a mining company to educate and reduce the stigma around HIV and AIDS. The company was losing many of its trained workers to AIDS so they purchased antiretrivirals which were very expensive at the time and opened a clinic. However, none of the workers attended due to the stigma as well as being scared it was a trap to test for AIDS and fire those who tested positive.

Bota identified the most effective communication plan in Zambia as peer education workshops. A worker- with their understanding of the culture and how to communicate, and geared with the important information taught to them about HIV and AIDS, was able to effectively communicate Bota’s campaign’s message.

“And that’s the difference between messaging and strategic messaging, and that’s so important, what makes it strategic is that you’ve done a lot of research a lot of relationship building a lot of communication before you start doing your messaging, so you’re right understanding the context is a huge part of that.”

Renee Bota also worked within Kenya on a Sanitation campaign. This was the most satisfying project Bota ever worked on because of the success of the campaign. Bota’s group identified the “barriers to action” which were causing poor sanitation, like running water, water supply, and expensive bar soap. Renee explained, “Strategic communication is not just the messaging, it’s not just telling them to wash their hands right? Strategic communication is about communicating with people to figure out what their barriers are in the first place and then figuring out what are solutions that work for them within their lived reality.”

After studying the area and how sanitation was treated Bota and her team found a local woman making soap out of local ingredients. This soap was cheaper than the normal bar of soap as well as locally sourced and manufactured. A nonprofit came in and expanded this soap creation into a viable business where the soap workers were getting well paid and the area was using more soap.

Another strategic plan that worked in Kenya was training community health workers to be hygiene trainers. This strategy, like the peer education workshops in Zambia, worked because of the local’s ability to communicate well.

When asked what she believes is the most important skill within Strategic Communications Bota answered that most employees would answer writing. However, she believes listening is just as important because of the strategic aspect which requires research, listening to the media and the public’s communication as well as the advice of those in your team.

The most important information I learned from Bota was the amount of research and context necessary before beginning a campaign, especially an international one. Communication varies quite significantly with changes in geography especially with certain topics. Before beginning her work in Zambia and Kenya Bota spent a lot of time studying how newspapers discussed the issue at hand as well as communicating with locals and understanding their sentiment.

The field of Strategic Communications can feel confusing and broad and for those reasons intimidating. However, as Bota said, it is important to “interview the field” with internships, and in this way one can understand more about strategic communications as well as find what they really enjoy.  Breaking down strategic communications as well as one’s own interests is necessary before one can begin their exploration and begin making decisions to advance their career.

Tech Tuesdays in Emergent Digital Practices

 

Tech Tuesday’s are a 45-minute meeting hosted through the Emergent Digital Practices department at DU. These meeting serve as a brief introduction to a variety of things which vary from the simple to the complex.

The meetings typically have around 10-15 students depending on the topic for the day and how interesting it seems. Dan Wilcox and Chris Coleman, both professors within the EDP program, try to select only topics which they themselves find interesting and they understand as valuable knowledge.

Now what does Emergent Digital Practices even mean? Emergent Digital practices or EDP is a program for artists creating across new mediums. Emergent stands for these new mediums which constantly emerge, like how the evolution of film brought about directors and various professionals, the birth of new technologies creates new professionals as well as artists. Insert Dan quote about science and engineering.

Previous Tech Tuesday’s have included 3D scanning, pure data, Open Source, commandline on OSX, and installing open source apps & libraries in Terminal. Dan thinks of each of these classes as a practical introduction to an area of interest. As these are only 45-minute long classes- students do not get to start using and practicing the knowledge they gain. This is for after class on their own time, for this classes provide the tools to build with.

In Dan’s opinion, “This is an art program”, and all of the technical aspects taught are to broaden student’s abilities and imagination. Students of EDP learn what’s possible, the fastest way in which to accomplish this, and then are ready to begin creating their own works.

There are lots of codes already out there which can drastically limit the amount of work which goes into a project. As a teacher Dan recommends understanding all the elements in your work and also going back and making it completely for yourself. But as an artist and programmer Dan knows how much work goes into just making some little thing work, when really the focus should be on the project as a whole, and making it work. He says, “What’s important there? Is it making perfect software? No. Is it like making a really interesting experience and getting your ideas to work? Yes.”

Similar to how a traditional artist in say painting, must learn about historical works and different art movements as well as technical methods. An emergent artist must learn about important works in various mediums, understand different mediums well, as well as the technical side. Mediums like video art, interactive art, generative art and others, are very new and very rapidly changing. In order to keep up with their development artists must have a firm grasp of what is possible. With a computer one can be extremely limited in their ability or almost limitless it just depends on their understanding of its simpler workings. Also similar to traditional art/design, everything is built upon, added to, and made one’s own.

The big art side of EDP comes from once this knowledge is gained, an artist needs the creativity and vision to create something new as well as stunning. So the EDP program revolves around teaching its students the basics of creation as well as introducing them and helping them with the more complex.

 

Rhinoceropolis: A Venue for All Artists

RHINO

In the run down district of Rhino, tucked behind a non-descript door at 3553 Brighton Boulevard, hides the vibrant world of Rhinoceropolis. A venue that recruits all types of art, Rhino hosts anything from hip hop, electronic, punk, and many more subgenres. Their concerts provide young artists an opportunity and a platform. On Friday, April 29th Rhinoceropolis hosted “Fullon Compadres” a local skate team, as well as other artists, in an art/skate show displaying local artists as well as skateboarders.

Friday night, the venue was brightly lit showing the vibrant wall to wall mural painted by two local artists. The crowd is always diverse and Friday did not differ, with a varying collection of friendly people to chat with.

The first room had projection art playing on a screen and art from several artists hung up around the walls. With couches on the sides there were few people sitting, but the bulk of the people were in the middle room circled around the skaters and their little park set up.

Skaters were taking turns on the rail and the hip with onlookers talking to eachother and watching the friendly competition. At around 10pm “Fullon Compadres” turned the lights down, stopped the skating and waited for the crowd to fall hush before debuting their monthly skate edit on a projector screen. The video was very well edited with data moshing and other effects, as well as incredible sound editing and manipulation, to compliment the skate tricks.

University of Denver student and skater, Emmett Batley, attended the skate event Friday saying, “It was sweet meeting some more skaters” adding, “the atmosphere was really chill.” Rhinoceropolis’ atmosphere and people allow the sort of connections necessary for the connection of Denver’s art scene as well as its growth.

The venue changes significantly according to the event they are hosting, though what remains constant throughout is the venue’s ability to provide a platform for artists who otherwise may not have one. And though these artists may not have a significant following, Rhinoceropolis has a following of its own which allows these artists to gain exposure and start forming one of their own.

Artists Dan Deacon, Future Islands, No Age, Matt & Kim, HEALTH and Iceage all performed at Rhinoceropolis before finding more of an audience and playing larger venues. Rhinoceropolis is the training ground for artists, allowing them to display their work, see other work, and learn. Providing an essential service for artists and the Denver arts scene Rhinoceropolis continues to be an important and fun venue.

 

 

 

 

Stereotypes of an American Abroad

By Louis Capon

According to the Office of Internationalization at the University of Denver it is crucial to understand the culture of the country you are visiting as well as their attitude and stereotypes towards Americans. With 29% of American adults having never traveled abroad, it’s fair to say many Americans have little idea of how their country is perceived abroad.

With over 70% of University of Denver Students studying abroad, DU focuses its attention towards various institutions and countries worldwide. Studying abroad is a phenomenal opportunity to learn about a new culture as well as learn about one’s own from similarities, differences, and the perceptions of others abroad.

Chris Carr, a Sophomore set to study abroad in Glasgow identified many negative stereotypes of Americans he expects to encounter while abroad. He said Americans are typically stereotyped as fat, loud, and obnoxious and because of this he feels many people, “will start off with a negative opinion of you.” But he also echoed a sentiment found across all my interviews which is hopefulness to break down these negative stereotypes while abroad.

“I mean I’m not obese, and I’m pretty quiet, so these really shouldn’t affect me.” However, these stereotypes will affect how certain people interact with you and it is important to understand them and be ready for them, according to the Office of Internationalization at the University of Denver. The OIE even takes steps to educate students about these stereotypes so that they are prepared for them. Using a video in their mandatory study abroad meeting which details stereotypes encountered by Americans as well as stereotypes of Americans from different International students.

Ruby Tedeschi, a Sophomore at Denver, will be studying abroad in Quito, Ecuador as apart of the SIT Conservation, Biology, and Ecology program. Having traveled extensively before, Ruby is aware that everywhere and everyone has a different opinion and attitude toward Americans. When asked if she was worried about negative stereotypes affecting her experience she responded, “I guess a little bit, but I think it really can depend on how you handle yourself.”

Ruby said, “There’s a lot of desire to be similar to American culture, then I think there’s also a lot of hate for American culture, and I think both are kind of warranted.”

“I’m excited to go and present myself hopefully as a non-stereotypical American in the ways that are negative…”

Another DU student studying abroad in Madrid, Spain, Kenzie Maloney, echoed the same sentiment, saying, “I expect I’ll show people with these stereotypes that they are not true for all Americans.” These stereotypes are huge generalizations rooted in small fact. Americans are more open and loud than most cultures are, but that does not mean the exaggerated stereotype is true. Kenzie also mentioned how we as Americans are guilty of stereotyping a lot of other cultures. She explained this stems from differences in culture and, “is our way of making sense of these differences.”

Our stereotypes of other cultures as well as theirs of ours can only be broken down through experience, and that comes from travel as well as an open-mindedness. It is important for DU students to maintain this openness and allow members of the new culture to break down their stereotypes just how they expect to be given the same chance. DU students will learn lots about these cultures

 

Chris Carr

Chris

Sophomore Business Management Major

Studying abroad in Glasgow, Scotland

“What stereotypes of Americans do you think you will face while abroad?”

“Maybe that we’re loud, obnoxious people, feel like that’s pretty common”

 

Ruby Tedeschi

Ruby

Sophomore Environmental Science Major

Studying abroad in Quito, Ecuador

“Are you concerned at all about American stereotypes while abroad?”

“I guess a little bit, but I think it can really depend on how you handle yourself. I’ve had a few experiences going to other countries, and I think every country has a different standpoint on how they see Americans and I think every person has a different opinion on it.”

 

Kenzie Maloney

Kenz

Sophomore Biology and Psychology Major

Studying abroad in Madrid, Spain

“Are you worried about these stereotypes negatively affecting your experience?”

“I don’t know exactly what its going to be like but I expect to be given the chance to discuss these stereotypes and prove that these are not defining for all Americans”