A group of freshmen created and presented a website idea for their final project last semester in “S’Park: Igniting Your Future in Communications,” the required course for first-year students with majors in the Roy H. Park School of Communications. The incubator idea is now in the process of becoming a nonprofit organization through the sponsorship of Diane Gayeski, dean of the Park School.
The website, Privilege Check, is a way for individuals to see and understand life through different perspectives shown through user-posted video content explaining their background and experiences. Gayeski said she was impressed by this idea and decided to help project leaders freshmen Carrie Lindeman, Sarah Logsdon and Nicole Mance make this website idea a reality.
Lindeman and Logsdon sat down with Contributing Writer Haley Doran on behalf of their project group to speak about their upcoming website, becoming a nonprofit organization and the dean’s sponsorship.
Haley Doran: What is Privilege Check?
Carrie Lindeman: Privilege Check is a website we have in development and in design that is all about checking your privilege and expanding your horizon so you can see through different perspectives. It will be a website where you record a video, and you talk about your oppressions and privileges. Things you would be oppressed by are sexism and racism, and your privileges would be if you are a race that is considered “normal.” You would discuss those in the video and then tag your privileges and oppressions, and it will give you a list of videos that you should watch of people with different perspectives.
Sarah Logsdon: Our whole goal is to go towards acceptance of others, and it’s very much a social justice website. We want to educate on privileges as well. We are trying to incorporate different faculty to write articles all about privileges so we can learn about groups that [the student body] didn’t even know were oppressed.
HD: What was your inspiration for this website?
CL: In my first few days of being at college, we [Emerging Media majors] had a meeting with our adviser, Devan Rosen, and he gave a pretty inspiring speech about always thinking about things and how things can be improved. As he was giving that speech, I was thinking of the idea of Facebook but with the goal of connecting with people you would never meet, and then this snowballed into the idea. When we got to S’Park and had to do our final group project, I suggested [Privilege Check], and people really liked it.
HD: How did you feel when Dean Gayeski contacted you about sponsoring your website?
SL: We got the grade back and we thought, “This is cool, this is awesome.” Then we saw the comments a week later, and the dean said something like, “This is the most inspiring presentation ever.” Her excitement made us even more excited, and I remember that night Carrie and I just stayed up all night working on it making sure it was perfect for Dean Gayeski. I set up a meeting with her for the three of us, and we talked to her. She was just the most supportive person. She has been a great resource during this process.
CL: Without her, I really could not imagine this project happening or loving college as much as I do.
HD: Did you ever think making this website would be possible without getting sponsorship from the dean?
SL: I remember us sitting down while we were working on the S’Park project. We were saying that we know that this class is for one credit, pass or fail, but we videotaped our friends to do a mock video, and so I had my two roommates and one friend and we were watching their videos crying because we thought that these stories really needed to be shared with everyone.
CL: Even if we couldn’t make the website, we had to share these stories. It became personal. Our friends and their stories were just so powerful.
HD: Are you looking for people to help out with production of the website?
SL: The problem right now is that we are establishing a company and becoming a nonprofit corporation. Right now we are in the legal stage. After that we get to go to the designing stage, and that’s where we want to incorporate computer science people.
CL: The main recruitment right now is getting some more computer science people on our side to obviously create the website. We are trying to incorporate as little outside involvement as we possibly can. We want it to be an opportunity for our fellow students to pitch in to something that is important.
HD: Do you know how long it will be before your website is up and running?
SL: We first have to see how long it is going to take to establish a [nonprofit] corporation.
CL: After that, our goal is to get something up before we graduate, whether it’s the final project or not is something else.
HD: Do you think this is something you will continue with after graduating?
CL: The dean was very encouraging about this and said that it’s a project that could eventually be our jobs, which is so crazy to think about.
SL: We are really dedicated. We are really passionate about this idea. We work really well together, so I feel like this is really going to stay for a while.