Coordinating Student Media on Campus

By Mona Malacane

The beard has been busy.


Since forming Indiana All-Media in the fall of 2012, Garrett Poortinga and other IAM execs have been building the organization by hosting workshops, running an informative blog, and even gearing up for the first IAM film festival. Looking to plan for the future, Garrett met with the Director of Student Life and Learning, Steve Veldkamp, to discuss IAM’s role in the new Media School. That conversation led to Steve setting Garrett up for a meeting with Penny Dillon, who went on to offer Garrett a part-time job with the newly formed Student Media Bureau.

The Student Media Bureau is an office under the large umbrella of the Division of Student Affairs. Garrett explained, “The Division of Student Affairs is doing a massive redesign of their entire website structure. The DSA is comprised of many, many offices and departments all over campus and they’re all silo-ed off. And this new website is supposed to be a way of bringing all of these voices together and presenting all of the information coherently. So it’s a big communications project.”

Garrett worked with Penny to staff the SMB. The SMB positions include a project coordinator (Garrett’s position), video producer, a video editor and marketer, a copy editor and content auditor, and a graphic designer. Together they have been working on a bunch of projects, but all of their activities have been in some way related to this new website. “We are coordinating a lot of different things and we are sort of this filter that things come through and we line it all up so that it all looks and feels and tastes the same … [To have] a unified message across all of those potential means of communication, from videos, to ads, to posters, to one on one contact, to website information.”

One of their ongoing projects is production of a series of “student spotlights” on student employees in the various departments under the DSA. Another project they are proposing is a revamp of the First Year Experience and Freshman Orientation marketing, branding, and accessories (e.g. water bottles and thumb drive sticks).

Most recently, the SMB worked with Culture of Care to produce a series of videos for April’s Culture of Care week. To give you a little background, the mission of Culture of Care is to (1) promote a culture and community of support by encouraging bystander intervention, and (2) to raise awareness about sexual well-being, mental health, alcohol and drug awareness, and respect. So, Garrett and his co-workers sat down with the Culture of Care execs to brainstorm (and to a lesser extent, help produce) ideas for videos that would demonstrate “care through action” for each of the CoC focus areas. Here is the video on inspiring interventions by bystanders:

You can see all of the videos for Culture of Care Week on their YouTube channel

Although Garrett’s creative input on the projects is somewhat limited by IU’s brand, the task of working with such a variety of student organizations still requires a creative approach. “My process is that I listen, I ask questions, I repeat the information that’s told to me … And then I really try to hear what the other person or group of people what are the problems they are encountering and what is the path of least resistance to their solution.” For instance, Garrett and the SMB graphic designer met with a woman in Student Life and Learning to look at their marketing materials. “They have had a student working on a lot of these materials but everything the student has been creating all look different. They don’t work together, they don’t speak the same message, and not only do they just not look together, but they don’t actually communicate the look and the feel of the Division of Student Affairs … So what we did was listen to what they were doing, what kind of time line they are on, what kind of deliverables they want [e.g. fliers, videos], what do they need, what do they have, and what are the things that we need from them to make this happen.”

It’s a process that Garrett enjoys, and he hopes to continue to work at SMB after graduating in May.