One keystroke, one mouse click at a time, Wesley Knee wants to change the way people see video games. They don't have to be shoot-em-up gore-fests used just for entertainment. Knee says, "I really like to think I conquer big problems, and I do that through an interactive medium."
So he's studying game design at Champlain College. But Knee also works at Champlain's Emergent Media Center. It's a new place that gives young thinkers opportunities to shape real projects for companies and non-profits. Knee doesn't get class credit, but he does pull down a paycheck and is building his portfolio with a powerful project.
Aminata Toure, the chief of the gender, human rights, and culture branch of the United Nations Population Fund, says, "You are not a man if you are beating up a woman."
Toure works for the United Nations on gender and human rights issues. She helped land a $200,000 grant for the Emergent Media Center and 15 students to develop a video game to teach South African boys -- 8, 9, or 10 year olds -- that violence towards women should not be tolerated. The region, as the Champlain students saw firsthand on a visit in August, struggles with widespread sexual and physical violence against girls and women.
Toure explains, "We're trying to create a new discourse with role models. The game would also present options. 'If I am facing violence, what would I do?' 'If I am provoked, what would I do?'"
The team plans to put a heroic male figure at the center of the game. He'll be presented with choices about interacting with women. The tricky balance? Making a game that's fun to play but with a lesson that will stick with the boys as they grow into men.
Ann DeMarle of the Emergent Media Center explains, "It needs to be about 70 percent entertainment, 30 percent message. You become interested in the story, the characters, and as you're following that, you get to see the message delivered."
The United Nations says gender violence is directly linked to poverty so the tool may help South Africa on two fronts. Wesley Knee is optimistic that the game can have a serious impact. His goal? "That we can reach out and touch a couple people's lives over there."
The students are still in the concept and development phase. They hope to deliver their game to the U.N. in two years.
The Emergent Media Center is developing other game-themed projects to promote literacy and for use in training first responders and hospital staff.
Sunday, March 9 2014 10:43 PM EDT2014-03-10 02:43:23 GMT
The Burlington Yoga Conference began Saturday at UVM's Davis Center. The event gives participants a chance to connect the mind body and soul through workshops they may not have access to on a daily basis.More >>
The Burlington Yoga Conference began 6 years ago and has become a staple in the community.More >>
Sunday, March 9 2014 7:56 PM EDT2014-03-09 23:56:33 GMT
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Sunday, March 9 2014 7:43 PM EDT2014-03-09 23:43:32 GMT
Is the marketing behind Electronic Cigarettes aimed at kids?New York Senator Chuck Schumer (D-New York) says the industry's trendy packaging and flavors like bubble gum and cotton candy aren't foolingMore >>
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Sunday, March 9 2014 7:42 PM EDT2014-03-09 23:42:02 GMT
Senator Bernie Sanders is among a group of Senators set to hold an "all-nighter" to call attention to climate Change.Members of the so-called Senate Climate Action Task Force -- nearly two dozen in allMore >>
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Sunday, March 9 2014 7:40 PM EDT2014-03-09 23:40:46 GMT
A Chimney fire is the likely cause of a blaze that destroyed a home in St. Albans Town.The owner of the home on Pike Drive called for help a little after 9:30 a.m. Sunday. When firefighters arrived theyMore >>
A Chimney fire is the likely cause of a blaze that destroyed a home in St. Albans Town.More >>
Sunday, March 9 2014 7:38 PM EDT2014-03-09 23:38:52 GMT
Jazz fingers, dance moves -- and plenty of passion. The Urban Reach Dance Convention is giving aspiring dancers the chance to learn from some of the music industry's most acclaimed teachers, who have workedMore >>
Aspiring dancers hit the floor this weekend at the 8th annual Urban Reach Dance Convention.More >>
Sunday, March 9 2014 6:08 PM EDT2014-03-09 22:08:59 GMT
This morning, Channel 3 has learned there will NOT be a bus strike Monday morning in Chittenden County. CCTA officials told us in a statement that after 19 hours of negotiations that went into the morningMore >>
Sunday morning CCTA officials announced that after a marathon negotiation session they delivered a complete contract proposal to the union.More >>
Sunday, March 9 2014 2:52 PM EDT2014-03-09 18:52:05 GMT
Governor Peter Shumlin was in Rhode Island over the weekend. His office says the Governor was at Brown University in Providence taking part in a forum with the Rhode Island Governor. He is expected toMore >>
Governor Peter Shumlin was in Rhode Island over the weekend.More >>