(Screenshot via University System of Maryland)
University System of Maryland (USM) asked members of its community to get creative with approaches to educating the public on COVID-19 safety ahead of vaccination.
Among the top submissions: a puppet show, an action film parody and, because this is Maryland, a crab.
USM, which oversees a dozen public higher education campuses in the state, issued a Public Health Challenge through its research and innovation task force in December. It called for videos and images “to highlight how USM students, members of the broader university community, and all Marylanders can stay safe and healthy while waiting for a vaccine.” Specifically, the focus was on combatting pandemic fatigue. USM urged messaging around “vigilance and compliance” as the pandemic extends into a second calendar year and the bulk of the population awaits a vaccine.
“In the midst of a pandemic, it was amazing to see such creative minds, with limited resources, at work — the winners of this competition exemplify the type of leadership our community requires in these challenging times,” said USM Vice Chancellor for Economic Development Tom Sadowski.
It also drew support from a host of sponsors that represent professionals in the state, including the Maryland Marketing Partnership, BioHealth Innovation, Inc., Economic Alliance of Greater Baltimore, Maryland Technology Council, Connected DMV, Baltimore Metropolitan Council and USM Foundation.
The top three winners in each category got $3,000. Here’s a quick look at the winners, and videos showing each:
Animated/live action videos
- Chris Edwards, a Towson University undergraduate, created motion graphics to show the state’s vaccination plan.
- “Puppet Pandemic Fatigue” is a puppet show presented in rhyme. It was created by University of Maryland College Park undergrads Dyuti Basu, Disa Basu, Maxinne Ignacio and Dalya Kamil.
- The 3 Ws — wear a mask, wash your hands, watch your distance — were the focus of an action film parody video from University of Maryland Global Campus grad student Cory Wilkerson, and UMBC alum Stephen Brouillette.
Social media campaigns
- Meghna Bhatt, a grad student at the University of Maryland, Baltimore’s pharmacy school, created an image-based campaign on vaccination.
- The Vaccination Crustacean was the brainchild of University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science grad student Chelsea Fowler to encourage vaccinations.
- Vanessa Aguocha-Sam, an undergraduate at UMD, created a messaging campaign encouraging folks to take precautions, stressing that it’s particularly important for communities of color that have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic.
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