Gamecocks Donate Brains and Hands to Charity


It’s been more than a year in the making. The logo is designed. Student leaders are enrolled. Nonprofits have been selected. With the start of the academic year, we launched into perpetual motion — and nobody stops till the biggest blitz in pro bono volunteering is put to bed.

It’s the first CreateAthon@USC — a 24-hour creative blitz dedicated to helping South Carolina nonprofits, and the people they serve. Student leaders will work with student volunteers over a two-day period (this year, October 25 to 26) to produce free advertising and marketing communications materials that improve their communities. Volunteer mentors from throughout the professional world will help, and everyone will be kept working with the generous donations of community sponsors. The School of Journalism and Mass Communications will host CreateAthon@USC — but volunteers from throughout the university community are invited to participate.

Six South Carolina nonprofits will receive pro bono advertising and marketing communications support this fall. The Edgefield County Theatre Company, Federation of Families of South Carolina, Helen Hill Media Education Center, Harvest Hope Food Bank, Sexual Trauma Services of the Midlands, and Tutor Eau Claire will receive an array of free creative services from the University of South Carolina community.

The CreateAthon event will be orchestrated by USC associate professor Karen Mallia’s Creative Leadership class. “I am thrilled to work with all these deserving groups who contribute so much to our community.” Mallia said. “We are going to help each one of them share their unique and powerful stories.”

Creative Leadership students will be CreateAthon Team Leaders, managing the communication strategy planning for the six clients as well as the event. They will recruit their peers in advertising, public relations, design, photography and video to help develop the nonprofits’ communications during CreateAthon. Professional mentors from USC faculty and staff and the advertising and public relations community will work hand-in-hand with the students to bring ideas to life, Mallia said.

“CreateAthon is an amazing opportunity for students to gain real-world experience in developing marketing communication strategies and powerful creative work — and working under pressure,” Mallia said. “They will share their growing professional talents doing much needed community service. At the same time, nonprofits experience the benefits of effective marketing as a tool to help support their missions and the work they do in our community.”

Visit CreateAthon@USC for more details and applications to get involved!