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College of Information and Communications

  • CreateAthon


Fall will be here before you know it!

Ahh, the joys of autumn. Pumpkin spice lattes, cooler temperatures and football. They’ve got nothing on the excitement of CreateAthon@USC. Every fall, students and mentors deprive themselves of sleep, and perhaps even a shred of sanity, developing advertising and marketing communications for good causes in just 24 intense hours.

What is this thing we do?

It’s an all-volunteer, pro bono effort that benefits everyone involved: Advancing the causes of deserving nonprofits, ramping up student skills, and bringing professional mentors and students together in an experience that is intense, challenging, rewarding — and fun. Read more about how we do all this.

The elements that make this event successful is the real-world pressure-cooker environment, the camaraderie of so many creative college students collaborating face-to-face as one — and tossing in some friendly intra-mural competition. There’s magic in this 24-hour marathon — an energy that feeds and fuels and produces some excellent communication products for the clients.

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

The volunteers are totally exhausted from the 24 hours with no sleep but leave with a portfolio booster, real world experience and a possible caffeine overdose – so say nothing of that warm-and-fuzzy feeling that comes from doing genuine good for others.

Our success is contagious

For the past seven years, our students and volunteer mentors have given every ounce of their talent for 24+ hours, creating pro bono work for more than 50 South Carolina nonprofits and produced content with a value more than $1.1 million. That’s a lot of good. Just ask any of the nonprofits we helped, and see highlights of the creative work from past years. 

CreateAthon@USC begins before the event

Of course, 24 hours isn’t enough time to create an entire campaign from start to finish. A professor and their students will work with selected nonprofits before the event conducting needs assessments and developing a creative strategy for each brand.

They’re not the only ones. Dr. Haylee Mercado and her fall class in Sports and Entertainment Management will create an events plan to provide nutrition, entertainment, security and organization to keep the volunteers going and the creative juices flowing through the marathon.

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.