Since last August, the Philadelphia Student Union has been expanding its organizing reach with its “Multimedia Initiative.” Spearheaded by new PSU staff member Luis Gutier, the project includes a revamped Web site, electronic newsletter, podcast capability, and production work on a documentary and separate musical soundtrack to be released in April.
PSU’s original Web site contained just basic information about the organization and wasn’t regularly updated. Using the latest Web 2.0 technology, Gutier has pumped up the visuals on www.phillystudentunion.org and added interactive features. Student members can now blog, upload articles they’ve written, and update the site’s calendar.
PSU’s new online presence also includes a social network called “PSU Planet,” where members maintain profiles similar to Facebook and belong to a variety of groups related to campaigns and project committees.
“Our aim is to show the students that these new ways of communicating online are very effective and reach a broader audience,” Gutier said.
In addition, PSU’s traditional radio broadcasts are now available on the site as podcasts, having generated downloads from as far away as Turkey, Russia, and the United Kingdom.
The documentary will focus on the lives of students and the issues they face at school.
“Anything that’s on the cutting edge, we’re there. We want to make sure we’re utilizing all forms of communication in our organizing work,” he said.