Skip to Content

College of Information and Communications


Banner Image

CreateAthon@USC

24 hours. Nine nonprofits. Over 100 volunteer students, team leaders and mentors.

That’s what it took for CreateAthon@USC to be a success in 2016.

We're already prepping for CreateAthon@USC 2017! This 24-hour event unites students and professionals who serve as their mentors to generate creative campaigns for deserving nonprofits.

Once the call for applications goes out, the vetting begins. Nonprofits are notified of their selection during the summer, at the same time agreeing to work with team leaders who do communications planning as part of Professor Karen Mallia’s Creative Leadership course.

In the fall of 2017, the blitz begins. A call for volunteers — students and mentors — goes out. Vis Comm Senior Instructor Scott Farrand holds a logo and team T-shirt competition in his Informational Graphics class. Team leaders in Creative Leadership work with nonprofits conducting a needs assessment and prepare a situation analysis — and creative strategy for each brand. These guide student volunteers during the event, and allow them to hit the ground running when CreateAthon@USC 2017 begins.

Student teams will develop thousands of dollars worth of marketing communications materials pro bono for the selected nonprofits, guided by their team leaders and professional mentors.

During the event, students have creativity, compassion and caffeine on their side as they work through the night to deliver great content — thanks to donor contributions, and the logistics support provided by professor Haylee Mercado and her fall SPTE Event Management class.

CreateAthon@USC provides real-world experience for students — plus the event is a blast! Fun activities throughout the night keep the volunteers going and creative juices flowing. In past year’s there has been live music, contests, games, food and, of course, an abundance of caffeine.

Once 24 hours are up, pencils are dropped and volunteers pitch their campaigns directly to the nonprofits. Nonprofits leave the event with tangible communication and marketing materials to advance their causes.