Creative Impact

Creative Impact

The name says it all — the Entertainment Technology Center (ETC) Creative Good Fund. And indeed, Carnegie Mellon University's uniquely visionary graduate program is raising money to help its students make a positive impact on the world.

The ETC, CMU's two-year master's program combining arts and technology is seeking to endow a fund that will sponsor a yearly student internship with a non-profit organization. While many non-profits, like museums, libraries and zoos, are dedicated to community enhancement, they lack the resources to keep pace with rapidly changing education and entertainment technology.

The ETC Creative Good Fund will allow a student or student team to gain valuable real world experience while helping a deserving organization better fulfill its mission.

"One of the foundations of the ETC has always been discovering ways to use these entertainment technologies for the greater good — for education, health or civic engagement, for example," explained Drew Davidson, ETC director and teaching professor.

"Our hope is to make this goal more explicit."

It all began when Brenda Harger (A'00), ETC associate teaching professor, reconnected with Give Kids the World Village (GKTW), a non-profit 'storybook' resort providing free lodging to seriously ill children and their families. Harger's own daughter, now recovered, had memorably enjoyed the resort while ill.

Though Harger had been looking for career-placement opportunities for her ETC students, she instead discovered rich project coursework possibilities.

Now in its 15th year, the ETC admits approximately 75 master's students each year, offering a jointly conferred degree from two renowned CMU disciplines, the College of Fine Arts and School of Computer Science. Within the program, technologists and fine artists collaborate to produce innovative digital entertainment — from video games to virtual-reality technology.

Since Harger's meeting, a number of ETC student teams have completed ingenious projects for the Village to the delight of countless children, such as a computer-animated film complete with wind and bubbles.

A number of those former students still return to maintain and improve the growing attractions, including Evan Tahler (E'06, MET'08), now director of technology at TaskRabbit. Tahler recognized the mutual benefits made possible by facilitating summer-long ETC internships at the resort.

In discussions with Harger and Davidson, they realized this concept could be expanded to the greater world of non-profits and the ETC Creative Good Fund was born.

"This interest is coming from the student body and our alumni," stressed Davidson. "Our students care and we're looking to support that."

"They don't just want a job," he noted. "They want to make the world a better place."

To contribute to the ETC Creative Good Fund, click here »


Related Links: It Takes a Village [Carnegie Mellon Today article] | Entertainment Technology Center | School of Computer Science | College of Fine Arts