Extending the Link

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March 14, 2017

Jeff Johnson '17 as seen in CSB/SJU magazine

Under-told social justice issues are just that – under-told. However, one group of CSB/SJU students aims to explore these issues abroad and bring awareness back to campus through documentary film.

“This year we will focus on electronic waste, which includes devices nearing the end of their useful life, intended for resale, reuse, salvage, disposal and/or recycling,” says sophomore political science major Mackenzie Kuhl. Kuhl is a research coordinator for Extending the Link (ETL) – a student-run documentary film team.

Each ETL project begins in April after the previous year’s documentary premieres. The team brainstorms a new topic and location, then spends the summer researching and planning. Come fall, they are ready to begin marketing and fundraising for their upcoming production.

“As a team of 14 inspired students, we work together to bring awareness and ignite social change in our community,” says senior art major Erin Beacom, one of this year’s co-directors.

ETLOver winter break, six members of the group traveled to this year’s location, Hong Kong.

While there, the team met with individuals versed in the topic and captured enough video to create a 30-minute documentary before returning to CSB/SJU to edit and share their film during the spring semester.

“Through this documentary we hope to depict the relevance of e-waste both at home and abroad,” explains junior biology major Georgia Holm, an outreach coordinator for this year’s production.

ETL is planning to implement a computer fix-it clinic this year to raise awareness of the issue of electronic waste here at home.

A non-profit, student-run organization, ETL strives to create awareness about an international situation and empower local organizations to develop sustainable action to address that issue. ETL views these documentaries as a first small step toward the increased awareness and inspired action that the world needs.

A decade of documentaries

’08: “Somos de Café” - Documenting the significance of fair-trade coffee.

’09: “Del Micro al Cambrio” - Discussing the impact of micro-lending on women entrepreneurs in South America.

’10: “Essubi: Growing Up With Hope” - Raising awareness about child-run households in rural Uganda.

’11: “Pragati Nepal” - Highlighting the progress being made in eliminating human trafficking.

’12: “Obnova” - Celebrating the rebuilding efforts after war and genocide in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

’13: “Khulla” - Investigating the stigmas surrounding mental illness in India.

’14: “Ger Kler: A Journey of Untold Strength”* - Highlighting refugee issues, specifically involving the Karen people on the border between Myanmar and Thailand.

’15: “Obasa Ain Gàllit: We Continue” - Exploring the Sámi people; the last recognized indigenous group in Europe.

’16: “Ubumwe: Together We Grow” - Looking at women in agriculture, both in Minnesota and Rwanda.

*“Ger Kler” received a National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Upper Midwest Regional Student Production Award. ETL was one of four student production teams who took home a Student Production Crystal Pillar Award from the Upper Midwest Emmy® Chapter/Foundation in the College Non-Fiction Category. It also received official selection for the Best Short Films Award at the Greater Washington Immigration Film Festival.

View the documentaries at csbsju.edu/documentaries.