The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has been named "America's Most Entrepreneurial Campus" by Princeton Review and Forbes.com, a claim that UNC wants to uphold. New Media Campaigns has been involved in the entrepreneurship program at UNC and we are always watching the many ongoing entrepreneurial initiatives at UNC, the latest of which became a New Media Campaigns project.
It started from a book written by Chancellor Holden Thorp and Entrepreneur-in-Residence Buck Goldstein called Engines of Innovation: The Entrepreneurial University in the Twenty-First Century which will be released on September 29, 2010. Engines of Innovation addresses the need for universities to use their vast intellectual and financial resources in innovative ways to come up with solutions to the world's biggest problems. In addition to this book, Goldstein created a freshman seminar that parallels the purpose of the book and is where New Media Campaigns was able to help.
The class explored entrepreneurship and innovation in the university setting through readings, research and guest speakers. The information learned in the class was then translated into blogs, video interviews and articles all posted on a website the class maintained: RevupInnovation.com.
Naturally New Media Campaigns was interested in this effort given our ties to the University and its entrepreneurial community. We helped the class get the site set up so that the students could then take over. As a student in the class and I was not only introduced to New Media Campaigns, leading to a current summer internship, but I also learned firsthand the importance of entrepreneurship at a university.
The class was split into four groups to manage the site and create content. The web media team worked closely with New Media Campaigns and was in charge of launching, editing, and maintaining the website. The audio-video team set up, filmed and edited the interviews conducted in and outside of class. To reach beyond UNC, the best practices team researched other leading entrepreneurial universities to report on what they are doing right. Lastly, the blog team transformed class papers into blog posts and led the search for outside bloggers.
The students have come up with a number of cool features -- from highlighted personal interviews on the homepage, a signup form for UNC faculity and community members to submit blog posts and importantly, a newsletter signup on the sidebar of every page. Much of the sites followers are from within the University and prefer email to rss as a subscription mechanism.
While the class has ended for the year, revupinnovation.com will continue into this summer as several students have decided to stay involved. There is a core group of students staying in Chapel Hill this summer that will maintain the website daily, in addition several students will be working from around the country continuing to conduct research and interviews.
It was an exciting project for New Media Campaigns to be involved in. The project got off to a great start and it was a tremendous experience for the students. It will be exciting to see how the project continues to evolve.