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MTSU students’ acceptance campaign earns world ‘Double Take’

MTSU advertising majors’ social-media effort to fight community stereotypes has earned them acclaim in an international competition — and a free trip to Washington, D.C. — to present their campaign.

Juniors Kate Benton of Smyrna and Haley Bartley of Ooltewah, Tennessee, and senior Jane McCaffrie of Portland, Tennessee, showcased their project, “Double Take,” earlier this month in Washington as part of a global competition sponsored by marketing and advertising firm EdVenture Partners and the U.S. Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

MTSU advertising students Haley Bartley, left, of Ooltewah, Tennessee; Jane McCaffrie of Portland, Tennessee; and Kate Benton of Smyrna pause with their professor, Dr. Tricia Farwell, shown at right, for a photo during a trip to Washington, D.C., this month to present the students' social awareness project at an international competition. (Photo submitted)

MTSU advertising students Haley Bartley, left, of Ooltewah, Tennessee; Jane McCaffrie of Portland, Tennessee; and Kate Benton of Smyrna pause with their professor, Dr. Tricia Farwell, shown at right, for a photo during a trip to Washington, D.C., this month to present the students’ social awareness project at an international competition. (Photo submitted)

The contest aimed to provide information to counter violent extremism from groups such as ISIL. MTSU’s campaign received an honorable mention award in the competition.

Dr. Tricia Farwell, a professor in MTSU’s School of Journalism, joined her students for the presentation in Washington, which Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas observed. A fourth student, December 2015 advertising graduate Danny Jones of Franklin, Tennessee, also was part of the “Double Take” creative team.

“We had a very positive response from the representatives of various government agencies, Facebook and others in attendance,” Farwell said. “Our students were encouraged to continue to think in creative ways for the future of this campaign and campaigns in the future.”

The MTSU students decided to focus their campaign on community stereotypes after seeing the negative effect created by controversy over Murfreesboro’s Islamic Center.

December 2015 MTSU advertising graduate Danny Jones of Franklin, Tennessee, displays a personalized message in this photo from the award-winning "Double Take" social awareness campaign. Jones was part of a team of advertising students who developed the project for a class with Dr. Tricia Farwell last fall. (Photo submitted)

December 2015 MTSU advertising graduate Danny Jones of Franklin, Tennessee, displays a personalized message in this photo from the award-winning “Double Take” social awareness campaign. Jones was part of a team of advertising students who developed the project for a class with Dr. Tricia Farwell last fall. (Photo submitted)

Hundreds marched in protest in 2010 and 2011 after Rutherford County officials approved plans for a new mosque on Bradyville Pike near South Rutherford Boulevard. In 2012, opponents of that mosque filed a suit against Rutherford County to block construction of the worship space, but members were able to open the mosque in time to observe Ramadan that year.

The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the case in 2014, and since then, the Murfreesboro mosque’s membership has grown and its neighborhood expanded with events aimed at welcoming community visitors.

This logo for the award-winning, student-created MTSU "Double Take" social awareness campaign incorporates the stars from Tennessee's state flag and the crescent moon of the Islamic faith to help fight negative community stereotypes. Click on it to visit the Double Take site

This logo for the award-winning, student-created MTSU “Double Take” social awareness campaign incorporates the stars from Tennessee’s state flag and the crescent moon of the Islamic faith to help fight negative community stereotypes. Click on it to visit the Double Take site.

“The Double Take campaign strives to give people a platform to voice stereotypes they have encountered, encourage community members to ‘take a second look’ at the stereotypes in their lives and the way they perceive others,” said Benton, who served as the team’s leader.

“We hope to highlight commonalities … while spreading a message of tolerance and acceptance to the university and Murfreesboro.”

Double Take has multiple social media platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest, and the team has distributed yard signs, posters and fliers throughout campus.

“Given the strong response to the T-shirts the students created for the campaign, we are exploring the possibility of selling the shirts to fund the campaign for the future,” Farwell said. “Also, several government representatives expressed interest in helping us continue the project through sponsorship or other assistance.”

Benton will be the special guest on the next edition of “MTSU On the Record,” which will air from 8 to 8:30 a.m. Sunday, Feb. 28, on WMOT-FM (89.5 and www.wmot.org.)

For more information about the project, click www.doubletakemt.com. To learn more about MTSU’s School of Journalism in the College of Media and Entertainment, visit www.mtsu.edu/media.

— Gina E. Fann (gina.fann@mtsu.edu)

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