You’re invited! Celebrate with us.
Looking back is a difficult task for someone who has been dedicated to looking forward to the future. But a funny thing happened on the way to the horizon, the Emergent Media Center became a 10 year old! With an original mission of “transforming learning and communication through the creative production and thoughtful application of evolving media and game technologies”, the EMC has emerged, setting the stage for new possibilities in technology and media, but even more importantly for transforming lives and impacting communities in meaningful ways. Along our journey, as travelers will, we’ve also built memories.
We hold dearly all who’ve co-created the EMC; our alumni, employees, partners, and supporters. We’ve grown from six original student employees and 2 staff to employing approximately 125 student positions a year. In ten years, over 500 students and 38 faculty and staff have collaborated on over 32 projects, traveling to 5 continents to do so! The magic of our students working side-by-side with faculty, staff, and partners to bring their creativity to bear on real world projects has had amazing educational benefits:
- a 99% persistence to graduation rate,
- and 95% career placement rate within 6 months of graduation.
The EMC itself has evolved from a studio devoted to building digital media solutions, to an umbrella organization that unites digital media to physical form through the introduction of our MakerLab and integration of our experimental Sandbox team in 2014. The possibilities can be seen in our large screen interactives “Flight” and “Graffiniti” currently at the Burlington Airport, and in our next generation “ChampBot” recently released into Lake Champlain during the Shelburne Mini-Maker Faire. Concurrently, we’ve grown from solely supporting undergraduate degrees to offering integrative residential Graduate programs (MFA and MS) where graduates work alongside EMC undergraduates. Together, our alumni and current students have successfully tackled deep issues such as climate change, cystic fibrosis, environmental conservation, financial inequity, learning, PTSD, and gender-based violence. This deep teamwork has resulted in real change such as the integration of BREAKAWAY into the school systems in Sonsonate, El Salvador in 2016.
Our successes are due to our drive to explore and innovate. We’ve been developing ever-changing technologies, starting with our earliest forays into serious games, gamification, social media, mobile applications, virtual world-building, and alternate controllers, to more recent leaps into 3D printing, video marketing, internet of things, robotics, large screen interactives, augmented reality, and virtual reality headsets. Profoundly, our creativity is because we employ deep reflection and iteration, deliberately refining our processes of collaboration and development. But perhaps most importantly, we dare to apply these processes and technologies to the deep, impossible, wicked questions facing society—and we do it with intent, playfully and joyfully, understanding that technology is a tool that amplifies attitude and action. Together we’ve:
- Applied the concept of “co-opetition” to create meaningful games
- Embraced the concept of “critical friends” to elevate our projects
- Balanced tough deadlines alongside coursework and client needs
- Built games and apps in rapid-fire weekends with hundreds of content experts lending a hand in what could be called the first game jam with futurist Elliott Masie and at MPI and Digital Now conferences
- Created STEM career interactives side-by-side with the magical IBM Fellow John Cohn and then made a quick exit from a rather loud celebratory dinner
- Worked with children in some of the world’s poorest classrooms—open walls, no books—to create and refine educational games
- Brainstormed interactive media solutions with experts from business, environmental sustainability, finance, government, healthcare, STEM, the Arts, and social responsibility
- Interacted personally with visionaries through the Emergent Media Landscape series
- Conceived and built the Champlain College MakerLab while collaborating in the design and marketing of Burlington’s Generator
- Planned and executed MakerLab workshops enabling our community to make everything from gas can guitars to 3D prints
- Proven, through research, that serious games can make a difference—whether improving the lung capacity of children with cystic fibrosis or changing negative social behaviors
- Won awards for: leadership in representing Vermont as a home for technology business in the inaugural Tech Jam Ambassador Award recipient; creating one of the top four Information Communication Technologies addressing violence against women and girls by Womanity Foundation; and building a swimming, fire breathing robot and taking second place in the Shelburne Mini-Maker Faire’s ChampBot competition!
As a result, we’ve come to recognize ourselves as:
“A fearless learning community designing dynamic processes and tools to create meaningful solutions.”
The EMC has become this daring community through partnerships, both internally with folks from across the Divisions, Admissions, Advancement, Career Planning, BYOBiz, David L. Cooperrider Center for Appreciative Inquiry, Center for Financial Literacy, Facilities, Finance, the Library, Student Life, the Provost’s Office, and the President’s Office, and externally with partners locally to globally. These have included:
With these experiences under their belt, our alumni have secured positions in large and small companies all over the globe, some of which are depicted here.
Memory, science says, is not the most reliable tool. Personally for me looking back, I’m sure I’m forgetting some key projects and partnerships, that I’m not fully aware of some of your stories, but I’m in awe of what we’ve accomplished as a group linked by a shared commitment to inquiry and purpose across the years. I’m proud of what our partnerships have produced and what our alumni have gone on to do. Education’s task is to inspire! As we move into this celebratory year, we hope to reconnect with all of you through various Champlain Connect events across the country and online through our Emerge, Innovate, Inspire campaign. We want to hear from you and share your memories and stories. We want to pave a road connecting our community. As the year concludes, we hope to shine a light on your dreams for the future. Together, we wish to build a vision for how the Emergent Media Center can open doors for the next generation of our Champlain students, partners, and global community. Together, we hope to power-up and amplify a uniquely powerful education model. We look to you to celebrate the past and build the future. Please join us in our ten year celebration!
I look forward to connecting with you soon!