One of the University’s most popular sites, SMU Adventures, is also an important component of the new “World Changers Shaped Here” campaign, which launched in 2013 as part of SMU’s centennial celebration.
The site provides an online forum for students and faculty to communicate their impact on the North Texas and global community through the University’s education abroad, service, leadership, engagement, internship and research programs. Many bloggers are top students – scholarship recipients, honors students and campus leaders. Increasingly, faculty members are asking students to participate in SMU Adventures as part of their coursework, which has added to the variety of voices and engaging entries.
Since its founding in 2005, the site has grown from a small handful of contributors to 44 individual and group blogs in 2013. Posts are frequently spotlighted on SMU Twitter and Facebook. During 2013, there were more than 28,000 visits to the Adventures site – more than 2,300 each month.
SMU Adventures highlights in 2013-14:
- Various blogs have been featured in local and national media outlets and have contributed to media placements. Student blogs from a special course that examined the life, times and legend of JFK – taught by political science professor Dennis Simon and senior English lecturer Tom Stone in Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences – were part of SMU’s extensive media coverage during the assassination anniversary in Fall 2013.
- SMU Adventures partnered with the Division of Student Affairs to promote SMU’s new Residential Commons living-learning model, with blogs from student leaders and faculty-in-residence: “In my life, I have rarely been involved in such a positive creative effort. Each Faculty-in-Residence in each hall in the new Residential Commons will get to create new traditions,” wrote Professor Ann Batenburg.
- In SMU’s first blog partnership with the George W. Bush Presidential Center, student interns reported on volunteering for women’s health in Zambia. “I came to Africa to gain a new experience in health, but what I discovered was a new purpose,” wrote junior Prithvi.
- Students in the SMU-in-London: Arts wrote about their five weeks exploring the city, while studying London theatre history from Associate Theatre Professor Gretchen Smith in the Meadows School of the Arts and discovered the performance art of the metropolis with Dance Professor Shelley Berg.
- The Perkins Global Theological Education Program prepares Christian leaders for complex cultural experiences through seminars and significant immersion experiences in other cultures. In 2014 graduate students blogged from France, Israel and the Palestinian Territories, El Salvador, Cuba, Singapore and South Africa.
- Some programs, including the Cary M. Maguire Center for Ethics and Public Responsibility, require students to blog as an integral part of their projects worldwide.
- Students taking Dr. David Doyle’s Honors history class, “The Founding Fathers and Slavery,” traveled to Virginia during spring break and posted about their visits to Alexandria, Colonial Williamsburg, Washington and Charlottesville, as well as presidents’ homes Mount Vernon, Monticello and Montpelier.
- Eight students blogged from the SMU Hilltop on the Hill program in Washington, D.C., where they visited media and government sites, and meet with political communicators, journalists and SMU alumni. The trip is led by Rita Kirk, professor of communication studies in Meadows School of the Arts and director of the Maguire Center for Ethics & Public Responsibility.
- In 2014, SMU observed the 10th Anniversary of its Civil Rights Pilgrimage. Students who took the eight-day bus journey visited the American South’s civil rights landmarks and leaders in the movement. They blogged from such iconic sites as Little Rock Central High School in Arkansas; the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama; Montgomery’s Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, where Dr. Martin Luther King served as pastor; the campus of Ole Miss in Oxford; and the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, where Dr. King was assassinated.