Transy students connect with community nonprofits for class projects

Transylvania Writing for Nonprofits Class presentation

On the last day of finals week, students in Kerri Hauman and Scott Whiddon’s Writing for Nonprofits class gathered in the Digital Arts Technology Lab to present a semester’s worth of work. Their audience? Partners from the Lyric Theatre and the Community Action Council who were eager to see the final products.

While the course focuses on reading, analyzing and crafting communications used by community-based nonprofits, working directly with these groups gives students real-world experience.

“Students worked in close coordination with contacts from one of these community partners throughout the semester and completed projects ranging from promotional materials meant to encourage more involvement in the 2020 Census, to video tours, to social media and website analyses and recommendations, to name a few,” explained Hauman, associate professor of writing, rhetoric and communication.

Students worked together in teams to tackle specific projects for the community partners. The Lyric Theatre and Cultural Arts Center, located just blocks from Transylvania’s campus, asked students to create a brochure explaining the nonprofit’s sponsorship program, conduct an analysis of its website and social media accounts, and create a video tour of the facility.

The Community Action Council, which has worked with the class in the past, asked the teams to create videos introducing a new executive director, highlighting a financial empowerment program and encouraging participation in the upcoming 2020 Census.

“These projects have real audiences and purposes; they are constructed in real time and with the challenges that come with workplace writing/community partnerships,” said Whiddon, professor of writing, rhetoric and communication.

Whiddon pointed out that the class presented new concepts and challenges for its participants. “I couldn’t be more proud, personally, as these students came into our class with a range of experience,” he said. “I hope that our partners find these student-written texts — ranging from podcasts to social media guides to marketing texts — helpful for their good work.”

Representatives from the Lyric and Community Action Council who attended the presentations complimented the students on their work. The Lyric also recently shared a portion of one of the projects on its Instagram account.