Signature course features the Park Distinguished Visitor

Photo of Jeff Orlowski on an iceberg

Students in the 2019 mini-course on the Environmental Crisis and the Media attended a presentation by Jeff Orlowski, the award-winning director/ producer of Chasing Ice and Chasing Coral

Media for Social Responsibility (M4SR) is an interdisciplinary mini-course that is offered at least once a year with different topics that highlight the responsibility of the media to provide positive content and resources to promote social change. These courses are open to all Ithaca College students.

These courses are generally linked to a major speaker and allow students to put the speaker's content and inspiration into action.

The 2019 topic is

The Environmental Crisis and the Media 

This one-credit mini-course explores the issues of covering the interconnectedness of climate change—the environmental crisis that, if unmitigated, could lead to the collapse of the ecosystem that supports human life. In the first class, we will view and discuss two documentaries directed and produced by Jeff Orlowski, this fall’s keynote speaker. The first, Chasing Ice, follows photographer James Balog’s efforts to cover the rapid disappearance of Arctic ice and the implications of glacial melt for human life. The second, Chasing Coral,  follows the work of Richard Vevers, Zack Ragoa and a team of others to document the destruction and death of coral reefs worldwide and and the implication for human existence. In the second session, students meet in a separate session with Jeff Orlowski, then attend the keynote address that same evening. During the following classes, we explore the implications of climate change,  the related environmental and social justice issues, the landscape of environmental media and implications of coverage, and the interconnections of climate activism and media. We close with a frame for the projects required for completion of couse. discuss the implications for environmental media. 

Past topics and speakers have included:

  • "Life with Autism Disorder" taught by Speech/Language Pathology professor Tina Caswell, the course featured a public screening of the documentary Life Animated followed by a public presentation by the producer of that film, Ron Suskind who is a Pulizer award-winning journalist. His presentation chronicled his family's journey when his young son was diagnosed with autism disorder and their discovery that the best communication channel to him was through Disney animated film characters.
  • "Portrayals of Disability and Chronic Illness in Popular Culture" featuring guest speaker Laila Ali, the world-class athlete, fitness and wellness expert, TV host, entrepreneur, author, and advocate for women and children. The daughter of late beloved global icon and humanitarian Muhammad Ali, she is heralded as the most successful female in the history of women’s boxing.

  • "IC Beyond Body" featuring Academy Award winning actor Geena Davis who is also recognized for her tireless advocacy of women and girls nearly as much as for her acting accomplishments. She is the founder of the non-profit the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media and its programming arm See Jane, which engages film and television creators to dramatically increase the percentages of female characters — and reduce gender stereotyping — in media made for children 11 and under. This class developed the platform used for archiving material and promoting through social media positive information on body image, ICBeyondBody.