While pulling a late night is an all-too-familiar feat for many college students,
School of Journalism and Mass Communications students participating in this year’s
CreateAthon@UofSC proved themselves to be caffeine-fueled, all-nighter experts.
CreateAthon kicked off its seventh year at the university on Oct. 29. The 24-hour
event involved teams of students working nonstop to create content for six South Carolina
nonprofits. The final products were showcased at an awards celebration on Nov. 17.
Serving organizations from Florence to Charleston to Rock Hill, this year’s client
list was one of the most diverse ever, and organizers saw a record number of applicants.
Students had the chance to practice real-world branding and communications skills
for everything from a children’s museum to a veterans’ art therapy organization.
Thirty-four students from various majors participated with the help of communications
professionals who served as team mentors. Additionally, more than 20 College of Hospitality,
Retail and Sport Management students helped organize the event.
While the process is long and intense, every minute is valuable — and worth it. “These
students gave the organizations tools that they didn't even know were possible,” says
senior visual communications instructor Scott Farrand, who led this year’s event. “There is no way they could afford it — even if they
could, they simply don’t have the time.”
CreateAthon is not only beneficial for the nonprofits, but for the students as well,
cultivating valuable skills and leaving students with memorable connections. “They
create some friendships that are pretty deep, and every group leaves with materials
for their portfolio that strengthen them tremendously,” Farrand says.
Senior visual communications major Jessica Riporti worked on one of the teams that
took home the Best in Show award. Their client, the Children’s Museum of the Pee Dee,
is a state-of-the art educational museum being planned for Florence, South Carolina.
By the end of the 24-hour process, the team had completely renamed the museum, designed
a new logo, created letterhead, infographics, social media content and more — all
met with overjoyed, emotional reactions from the client.
“It hits the hardest when you’re at the end and they’re like, ‘We didn’t think we
could do this, and you gave us that push,’" Riporti says.
Meghan Swink, president of the board of Explore: the Children's Museum of the Pee
Dee, traveled from Florence to watch the pitch and was brought to tears by the team’s
work. After many years of working to make the museum a reality, Swink was beyond impressed
by how the final products reflected its mission and brand. Swink has even invited
team members to travel to Florence to present their pitch to the board early next
“How enthused they were about the children’s museum re-inspired me,” Swink says. “We've
been meeting for 10 years, and it is so hard to get people to support this program.
It reminded us why we’re doing this — it showed us that people do care.”
2021 CreateAthon@UofSC Awards
Best in Show
Explore: Children’s Museum of the Pee Dee
The team proposed a name change and updates to the museum’s website and marketing materials. They created a new logo and branding as well as custom fundraising materials.
Team Members: Addison Hinkle, Parker Knight, Rachel McIntosh, Sophie Olsen, Elise Osteen, Jessica Riporti
Best in Show Runner Up and Outstanding Creativity
The team updated the organization’s website, including new designs and copy. They
rebranded their logo and created a promotional video and wall decals.
Team Members: Emily Arnold, Kayla Jeffers, Sydney Lako, Imagine Patterson, Arianna Pierre, Aliyah
Best in Show Runner Up and Outstanding Multimedia awards
Hospice & Community Care
Team members developed a new logo, tagline and assets for the organization’s website and social media. The team also created radio ads and a brand kit.
Team Members: Gracie Bryant, Kaeleigh Dunn, Aaron Falls, Will Frame, Anna Ritchey
Albemarle, North Carolina native Brooke Burris is a senior public relations major.
After graduation, she hopes to pursue a career in travel and tourism PR. In her free
time, Brooke enjoys hiking, painting and spending time with friends.