Honor Roll 2014-2015

Under the direction of Aimée Knight, Ph.D. (left), Foley Fellow Samantha DiGiuseppe ’16 (right) and B-Social students utilize social media and multimedia production to help community organizations.

Foley Program Produces Positive Social Change Through Digital Media

The legacy of Cardinal John P. Foley ’57 as a media innovator lives on at Saint Joseph’s through the transformative and mission-fulfilling Beautiful Social Research Collaborative (B-Social).

Through the program, students work with nonprofit and community-based organizations in semester-long, team-based new-media projects with social justice themes. It’s a fitting tribute to one of SJU’s most beloved alumni.

During his more than 40-year career, the former Vatican chief communications officer transformed the way the Church spread the word of God to a much broader audience.

Thanks to the generosity of an anonymous donor, the John Cardinal Foley Program for Digital Media and Civic Engagement was established in 2013 with the intention of benefiting initiatives within the Communications Studies Department. This will allow students and faculty to share in the power and promotion of communications as a vehicle for connecting citizens globally for the greater good, as Cardinal Foley did throughout his lifetime.

One of the first beneficiaries of the Foley Program, B-Social offers its clients a full range of free services, including social media consulting and training, multimedia production and community research.

“I have been introduced to passionate and driven nonprofit crusaders who have inspired me to want a career and a life in which I am working toward something much bigger than myself,” said Samantha DiGiuseppe ’16, one of three Foley Fellows this past spring. “This program is combining new media with civic engagement and preparing students to leave Saint Joseph’s with a need to use these skills so that others may have their voices heard.”

Founded in 2010, B-Social has worked with more than 50 nonprofit and community-based clients, including the American Diabetes Association, TEDxPhiladelphia and Project HOME.

B-Social students worked with inmates, like Lauren Bacall (pictured here), in addition to animal trainers and correctional officers to create videos for New Leash on Life – USA.

This year, a B-Social team worked with Philadelphia-based New Leash on Life – USA (NLOL), a nonprofit organization dedicated to reducing recidivism among prison inmates and finding shelter dogs permanent homes. Shelter dogs are paired with prison inmates who are responsible for training them.

NLOL requested a series of short films, which B-Social students created by working with the inmates, dogs, animal trainers and correctional officers inside Philadelphia’s Alternative and Special Detention Center over a 12-week period.

The shorts are being used on social media to raise awareness of the program, attract supporters and build a community around a great cause.

Kevin Kaufman