Georgia Southern University Receives France On Campus Award

The France on Campus Award – created by the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the US in partnership with Kickstarter and OrgSync - provides student organizations in colleges and universities around the US with funding, mentoring and networking opportunities to help them develop creative France-themed projects on campus.

This year, Georgia Southern University (Statesboro, GA) was selected along with nine other recipients for their unique project aimed at increasing awareness about France and its culture through the role of the press in French history: The French Press – The Responsibility of Freedom of Speech.

Elenora McGahee (who goes by Kelly) is currently a student at Georgia Southern University, where she studies Public Relations and French. Along with other fellow students (enrolled, like herself, in Honors classes and club activities), she decided to take part in the France on Campus Award project and research French history from the Revolution up to the Charlie Hebdo tragedy. Why, you may ask? “We wanted people to fall in love with French culture as much as we are. It’s been very cool to show people that there’s more to France than they know”, Kelly explains. She became interested in the French press and the importance of its social impact last year, when Paris was struck by terrorists. She became aware that “Americans learned of Charlie Hebdo when the tragedy occurred and Le Monde was being compared to The New York Times. Beyond that, people are generally ignorant of the history and breadth of French newspapers and magazines. We wanted to raise awareness through a major display, lectures, and presentations of actual samples of the press.”

That, in itself, is no small undertaking. After researching the topic for weeks, she and her classmates (14 of them, split into 4 teams) started the painstaking task of collecting enough artifacts, journal articles and magazines to make up the display they intend to showcase around campus, starting with Georgia Southern University’s Library. By networking with students from other colleges and universities and raising awareness about the project through social media and a strong PR program (newspapers, radio, posters, original creative designs), they are hoping to turn the project into a traveling display and reach other campuses around Georgia.