A fuse lights a fire, generates a spark and leads to big changes.
Likewise, the Missouri State University Ad team started something big in the 2020-2021 academic year by creating a campaign to prevent radicalization, which they called Fuse.
“I was really proud of what the students produced,” said Samantha Francka, marketing and communications coordinator for international programs at MSU. She advises the Ad Team and now serves as a co-PI for a major federal grant. She also serves as a resource to the Fuse team that is spreading its message.
“They found that a lot of people are having a hard time having tough conversations – politics, religion, all those things that we’re told not to talk about,” she said.
This led to the development of an immersive campaign called Fuse, which included the development of a game and podcast to inspire conversation. Then she and Dr. Stephen Spates and Alex Johnson were awarded a competitive federal grant to keep it going.
Furthering the mission
At this stage, to meet the goals of the grant funding, Francka says the team is trying to fan the flames to spread the mission across campus by getting in front of as many people as possible.
Besides sharing on social and traditional media, they really want to get in the rooms and have the conversations so people can experience Fuse’s full impact.
“As part of that presentation, you get to learn about why it’s so difficult to talk about these topics. We learn about implicit bias and how we all kind of come to the table with that. And then we also have an opportunity to actually play the card game that the students developed.”
Fuse encourages university students to engage in meaningful conversations on difficult topics and form connections with peers, and it’s evident that this mission and method speaks to people.
“I think the coolest part for me now is that it’s not the students who originated the idea. It’s new students directing Fuse now,” she said. “They’re just so passionate about the mission that they’re carrying it forward.”