For Andrea Miller, dean of the Mayborn School of Journalism and interim chair of Media Arts, a used trailer presented a world of possibilities for the UNT community in the age of COVID-19. With a little help, she thought, the trailer could be transformed into a mobile production unit that would allow students to safely bring live events to the homes of fellow students, alumni and friends of the university.
The Mean Green Mobile Media project, a joint venture between the Mayborn School, the Department of Media Arts and Mean Green Athletics, is moving forward thanks to the UNT Diamond Eagles Society -- donors who work together to create high-impact change on campus.
Every year, Diamond Eagles members make $1,000 contributions, which are pooled together to fund a project determined by a majority vote. This year's support, announced Feb. 25 during a virtual event, will create invaluable, real-world experiences for students in the media arts and journalism programs.
"Our members are proud to support this ambitious project," says Cathy Bryce, co-chair of the Diamond Eagles Society. "We're excited to help our students grow and learn as they work to bring our UNT family closer together."
Miller sees many ways to use the mobile equipment to educate students and serve the community, both while we face COVID-19 and in the future.
"Mean Green Mobile Media is going to dramatically expand our capabilities and open new avenues for students who want to work in the production of live events, movies and television," Miller says. "This project is going to be a game changer -- adding field production to our list of training that we offer our students."
The original idea came from the desire to cover UNT sporting events, but has expanded to include news reporting and year-round coverage of UNT and community events -- from happenings on the Denton Square and campus traditions to music, dance and theatre performances.
Now that the project has been funded, the goal is to start using the mobile production unit for some location shoots this summer and to cover events in the fall, when the Mayborn School hopes to have a class tied with Mean Green Mobile Media.
"We can't say thank you enough to the members of the Diamond Eagle Society -- and a special thank you to co-founders Debbie Smatresk and Cathy Bryce for their vision and leadership of this program," Miller says.