Emerson students who would like to participate in the NRG EVgo video contest should pre-register before submitting entries.
NRG EVgo wants to accelerate the conversation around the electric vehicle (EV) movement gaining momentum throughout the world—and is now looking to Emerson College students to use their own creative voices to tell the story.
The electric charging solutions company, a subsidiary of alternative energy leader NRG, recently launched a novel contest at the College in which all current students, working in teams of two to four, are invited to create “emotionally compelling” :30 to :60 second videos highlighting the power of EVs.
A panel of Emerson and EVgo judges will then judge the videos, which must be submitted by November 20, and the top 10 will be selected for judging by the world later in December. The winning team, to be announced in early January, will split a $25,000 scholarship, provided by EVgo.
When first developing the contest, the Houston-based company looked at colleges with robust visual media arts programs with which to partner. Emerson quickly moved to the top of the list after receiving a strong endorsement from Allison Gillette, the company’s utilities program business analyst—and an Emersonian herself.
“The original idea for EVgo was to go to a film school in California because that’s our biggest market [for EV charging network stations],” said Gillette, who graduated in 2012 with a degree in Documentary Production and a Science minor. “I brought Emerson to the table. I told them about Emerson students and the talent and quality of their work…how dedicated the faculty are.”
She added: “Once I explained the aura of Emerson, that if you give an Emerson student a project, they will do everything they need to make it the best it can be…Well, there wasn’t even a question after that.”
When Gillette and EVgo approached the College with the idea, Visual and Media Arts Chair Brooke Knight immediately saw the contest as a win-win for Emerson and its students.
“I saw an opportunity for students to engage in meaningful, socially impactful issues, like cleaner energy, through the dynamic application of media,” recalled Knight. “The fact that it was brought to us by an alumna—and that EVgo will provide a $25,000 scholarship—made the decision much easier.”
The contest’s launch in early September has created a strong current of excitement on campus, and resources have been made available in support of the students’ work. On Thursday, November 5, in the Bright Family Screening Room from 3:00 to 4:00 pm, Marketing Communication Senior Executive-in-Residence Doug Quintal will also host an open session and Q&A on digital marketing for the viral age. Later, non-VMA students are encouraged to sign up for a campus-wide Equipment Distribution Center training session on Friday, November 6, from 10:00 to 11:00 am; they must register with Visual and Media Arts’ Bob Nesson.
Gillette, who hosted an info session in September, says that the EVgo contest has brought her “home” to Emerson. She now gets to collaborate alongside the faculty members who made her own Emerson experience so transformative, including Nesson, whose Documentary for Social and Environmental Change course showed her the societal impact that film can make. She credits him, as well the Institute for Liberal Arts and Interdisciplinary Studies’ Wyatt Oswald and the ecological science education she received from him, with setting her on the professional and personal path to where she is today.
Nesson has also been an integral force in the project, incorporating it into this year’s VMA curriculum with the course Topics in Visual and Media Arts Practice: Video Shorts Competition.
“From an academic point of view, it was important that the class we created had a strong curricular component: the very short form of a web video presents a unique challenge for our students,” said Knight. “Sometimes, it is more difficult to create something short than it is to create something long.”
Gillette hopes that the results of that work will have a transformative effect—not only for the students who win but also all those people who may learn something new as a result of the contest.
“The winning video will resonate so strongly that it will lead to a change. And that change is not just EVgo selling chargers,” she said. “It will open minds about EVs and changing perspectives and lead people to go online and research sustainable energy. It will touch people on such a deep level that it will inspire people to make a change in the world.”
Students interested in participating in the contest must pre-register through the official NRG EVgo contest page. Official contest rules and requirements can also be found there.