American University’s School of Communication (SOC) has launched “a unique experiential learning opportunity for its students, SOC Communication Collaborative for Change (SOC3). With the goals of integrating disciplines and diversifying the communications industry, SOC3 will give students the opportunity to work with real clients at an actual agency on environmental, social and governance issues (ESG) and corporate social responsibility (CSR) for organizations and companies interested in having a meaningful impact on society.”
The program’s initial launch is made possible by a $500,000 Change Can’t Wait campaign gift from AU Board of Trustees member and alumnus, Michael Kempner, founder and CEO of the independent public relations agency MikeWorldWide.
SOC3 will train the next generation of changemakers across communication fields by tackling complex problems that organizations face with fresh solutions through storytelling from a Gen Z perspective. The curriculum-based experience will allow AU’s young professionals the opportunity to jumpstart their careers by managing real client accounts and give them the experience of running an integrated communications agency. Their inaugural client will be DC Central Kitchen’s Healthy Corners program, which delivers fresh and frozen produce, as well as healthy snacks, to corner stores in D.C.’s low-income communities at wholesale prices. Agency members will create dynamic content including videos, infographics, and social media posts for various storytelling platforms with the aim of increasing awareness about and participation in the program within the targeted communities.
“SOC3 aims to amplify messages that change minds and mindsets using empathy, knowledge, humor and goodwill, as well as different storytelling methods through the lens of Gen Z,” said Pallavi Damani Kumar, Hurst senior professorial lecturer and SOC3’s faculty advisor.
“We strongly believe that Gen Z is well suited to make a difference on the issues that matter most today – from addressing food insecurity to communicating about climate change to providing understanding about the effect of racial inequities.”
In addition to the gift from Trustee Michael Kempner (SPA/BS ’81), his public relations agency, MikeWorldWide, will provide in-kind support. The agency is providing assistance with creative design, media relations, and overall program guidance.