In the past 25 years Rowan University’s documentary production students have made over 20 documentaries that have focused on social issues that directly affect college students.
Issues like binge drinking (Wasted Youth), drug addiction (Heroin: A Dose of Reality and Ecstasy and Electronica), prescription drug abuse (Generation Rx), stalking (Culture of Silence), hazing, sexual assault (Breaking the Silence and It’s Not OK) and rape (What Jeannie Didn’t Know). These short documentaries become powerful tools in educating students on the dangers that can lurk on college campuses.
In 2012, Rowan led five other universities across the country and began the “Pact5” campaign — to use documentaries to make a difference on the problems of rape and sexual assault on college campuses. Ten documentary films were completed (3 by Rowan students) in 2013, coinciding with the national debate about the issue. Since then, the documentaries have been viewed over 32,000 times; the accompanying website has been viewed by students from over 1,800 colleges in 47 students. And over 400 colleges and counting are using the documentaries in some way to teach awareness and prevention.
“Each day the documentary project meant more and more to me. Not so much about what a potential victim might do, but that it is everyone’s responsibility to educate each other about this horrific epidemic.”
-Meredith Carroll, Rowan documentary student
Rowan students have also explored a number of socio-political issues that impact lives nationwide. In 2014, Rowan students worked under a grant from FEMA to create The Alarming Truth, a docu-drama highlighting the dangers of campus fires. Documentaries have also been created to examine protests against the war in Iraq, a Philadelphia-specific part of the “Occupy” movement, a special needs basketball team, an organization trying to raise money for organ transplants for kids who can’t afford them, a woman trying to address blight with urban gardens, and many more.