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Students Produce Video to Promote the Chicago Program

Students Produce Video to Promote the Chicago Program November 26, 2013

The energy of the city and the views of students and faculty have been captured in a new video produced by students that highlights the Chicago Program: Arts, Entrepreneurship, & Urban Studies.

Like the Chicago Program participants in their everyday lives, the video moves through the city as it shows the Chicago River, lakefront, bustling streets and high rises, El trains, and parks. Interspersed are clips of students, faculty, and staff talking about the program’s approach to experiential learning and the resources it taps in the city.

The video was produced by six students who are doing Independent Study Projects (ISPs) focused on entrepreneurship, mentored by Chicago Program Adjunct Faculty Parissa Behnia and Dima Elissa.


The ISP functions as a semester-long workshop, beginning with site visits, discussions with entrepreneurs, and assignments aimed at building the students’ grounding in the principles of entrepreneurship and innovation and preparing them to develop and carry out their individual projects.

Elissa and Behnia have used the film and TV industry in Chicago as a framework for understanding entrepreneurship and its role in the local economy. “We met a lot of independent filmmakers, producers, and screenwriters [in our workshop activities], so the assignment we gave the students was to write a long-form commercial for the Chicago Program,” said Behnia.

“We give these students a lot of credit. On their own they took the initiative to collect all the assets [for making the video], do all the shooting, and they did all the editing themselves,” Behnia noted. “This is 100 percent produced by students, and what really spoke to us the first time we saw the video was the emotional appeal and the connection that made with us.”

The student production team included:

  • Weizhi Feng, Knox College
  • Taihua Li, Ripon College
  • Susannah Lodge-Rigal, Knox College
  • Patrick McKnight, Beloit College
  • Zhen Su, Coe College
  • Weihang Zhou, Luther College

According to the students, they divided up the tasks – shooting the video footage, writing the script, conducting interviews, editing the video and adding music – and then coordinated and worked together to complete the production.

Could this become a Chicago Program tradition, with a new student-produced video each semester? If so, the group that worked on this video are ready with some friendly advice to offer their successors: Get started on the project early in the semester, take your cameras with you everywhere, and just shoot as much video as possible!


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