UO-produced video points students toward sustainable industry

What is sustainability? Can it really work in the world of big industry?

University of Oregon chemist Jim Hutchison tackles both the definition and its application in the production of metals in a newly produced educational video for the Materials Research Society.

The almost 13-minute video "Sustainable Design" appears as an introductory web offering in the Educational Resources for Modern Light Metals program, a collaboration of the Alcoa Foundation, the Materials Research Society Foundation, the Metals Service Centers Institute and the Minerals, Metals and Materials Society.

"The video was developed to encourage undergraduates to consider sustainability as part of their studies early in their academic careers," Hutchison said. "It starts by making the case that sustainability is an important challenge for future generations. It then describes the need to consider the lifecycle of materials and products as an integral part of sustainable design."

The concept for the video emerged in March 2013 when the Materials Research Society put out a call for modules to help educate students about light metals and why they are important to modern society.

Hutchison, the UO's Lokey-Harrington Chair in Chemistry, and Andy Bedingfield, director of education and outreach for the Center for Sustainable Materials Chemistry, saw an opportunity. Working with Mark Blaine and Ed Madison of the UO's School of Journalism and Communication over several meetings, a proposal was prepared and submitted in late May to the society. Word of its selection came in September.

Blaine and Madison are the faculty leaders of OR Media, a multimedia/video production team of recent journalism school graduates and current students that works with clients and partners -- on and off campus -- to produce digital storytelling materials. They assigned a team to begin production.

In addition to Hutchison's role in the video, additional on-camera expertise features Julie Tucker, an expert on metals and a professor at Oregon State University.

The video also presents case studies of how BaseCamp, SnowPeak and Koefler Drift Boats – all Oregon companies – value sustainability and have developed strategies around the light metals they use, aluminum and titanium. The discussion, Bedingfield said, serves "to develop a call to action – encouraging the viewers to become part of the solution by directing their talents to solve the challenges of sustainability."

"The development and production of the video was a great example of interdisciplinary collaboration between the sciences and journalism to reach a broad audience with an important message that couldn't be delivered by a subset of the team," Hutchison said.

The OR Media team that Blaine and Madison put together for the project were: Dana Bredeweg, a senior journalism major, who wrote the script; Ryan Dutch, a senior advertising major, who created the illustrations; and staff producers Maya Lazaro, Erik Bender and Jordan Bentz.

- by Jim Barlow, Office of Public Affairs Communications