Staff-Produced Water Conservation Video Wins National Award

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: 03-01-2016

Sarah Langford
Public Affairs
530-898-4260
Morgan Schmidt, lead
Creative Media and Technology
530-898-5485

A video created by California State University, Chico’s Department of Creative Media and Technology (CMT) promoting water conservation has been selected for a top award in the National Intramural Recreational Sports Association’s (NIRSA) 2016 Creative Excellence Awards. 

Salam Ali is Water WomanNIRSA supports leaders in collegiate recreation and is composed of 4,500 professionals, students and businesses. Its Creative Excellence Awards aim to recognize NIRSA members’ outstanding accomplishments in marketing.

CMT’s 2½ -minute video “Water Woman,” which urges faculty, staff and student clients to reduce water use at the campus’s Wildcat Recreation Center (WREC), won first place in the audiovisual promotion category.

Featuring senior mechanical engineering major and WREC student employee Salam Ali, “Water Woman” is a campy, lighthearted overview of water conservation measures in place at the WREC. In each scene, the cape-and-mask-wearing Ali assumes a superhero’s stance to explain the cutbacks, which include browning lawns, covering the pool at night, urging limited water use during showers and—perhaps most difficult for clients to accept—suspending towel laundering services.

The film is the result of a partnership between CMT and WREC staff, said WREC Director Curtis Sicheneder. When new water conservation measures were put in place at the 130,000-square-foot facility in summer 2015, Sicheneder turned to Morgan Schmidt, CMT media production lead, to help communicate those changes to clients.

Schmidt and CMT media production specialist Greg Olson wrote the script in a style reminiscent of the original “Batman” TV series, and Ali embraced the fantastical role with full commitment. After a collaborative production process, the final video was posted on the CSU, Chico YouTube channel, shared widely on social media and on the WREC’s webpage, www.aschico.com/wrec, and covered by a local TV news station.

“Because we were serving the general student population, communicating our message in a way that’s fun and exciting and hopefully, effective, was important,” Schmidt said. “That’s what’s nice about video—you can engage people in a way that text on paper sometimes can’t.”

Sicheneder said the video resonated well with its millennial audience.

“One way we measured the success of the video was the number of complaints (about reduced services)—we didn’t get many,” he said. “A few people who hadn’t seen the video complained about the towel service, but once we explained why they understood.”

He added that since the mandatory water reductions went into effect last summer, the WREC has met or exceeded its goals every month except one, when a leak was discovered and addressed.

The award will be presented to Sicheneder at NIRSA’s national conference in Orlando, Florida, in early April.

The WREC is a multipurpose recreational facility run by the Associated Students (AS), a campus auxiliary. It serves about 2,000 campus clients daily.

Creative Media and Technology serves clients across campus and is part of CSU, Chico’s Information Resources unit in the Division of Academic Affairs.

Watch “Water Woman” at https://youtu.be/EegVqz7vvLs.

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Photo caption: Senior mechanical engineering student Salam Ali is the title character in “Water Woman.” (Image courtesy Morgan Schmidt)