By Peter Tormey
SPOKANE, Wash. – Gonzaga University broadcast studies faculty Dan Garrity and Father Mark McGregor, S.J., have been invited to present their recent and remarkable international outreach efforts to a major Catholic higher education conference July 19-21 at Marquette University.
The Milwaukee conference, co-sponsored by Marquette and the Vatican’s Secretariat for Social Communication, is titled, “The Power to Transform the World: Media & Communication Programs in Catholic Higher Education.” Fr. McGregor will lead a plenary session July 19 and will present “Posada,” the award-winning documentary he wrote, directed and produced.
The 57-minute film compares and contrasts the journeys of three boys and a mother who immigrate to the United States to a traditional Mexican Christmas procession – called Las Posadas – that re-enacts Joseph and Mary’s search for shelter. The U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishops awarded McGregor and GU a $57,000 grant to help the Posadas Project promote education and advocacy for immigrants.
On July 20, Garrity will discuss his May trip through Slovenia and Turkey to teach digital storytelling to GU broadcasting students Matthew Wintheiser and Levi Holmes along with foreign journalists and students. Garrity and his students have documented the special project, titled the “The Best Homework Assignment Ever,” online. A speech by President Barack Obama urging better ties between Christians and Muslims inspired Garrity to reach out to the majority Islamic population.
Students here and abroad rave about the project, supported by a generous grant from Trustee Don Herak. Facilitating the effort was Garrity’s friend and Gonzaga alumnus Aydin Aygun, a tour director in Turkey. Garrity met Aygun eight years ago when Aygun was earning a master’s degree in religious studies.
The students started the project in Slovenia May 15 before moving to Istanbul five days later. In Turkey the group met two college students and their professor and conducted a four-day session on producing video assignments. Part of the lesson, Garrity said, was that everyone should have a voice; this remains a challenge in Turkey which has blocked access to the popular online video Web site YouTube.
“We took over some pocket HD (high definition) video cameras and left them with the students in Slovenia so they can become digital storytellers,” Garrity said. “And we left them with editing technology so they can tell whatever story they want. No government can stop them from having their voices heard.”
View the videos directed and produced by Garrity’s students and read their blogs at the following link: http://blogs.gonzaga.edu/gutv/.
Garrity also will speak at the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities’ Communication Conference July 15-18, at Marquette, along with GU communication arts faculty Colleen McMahon and Ron Prindle.
Fr. McGregor to Leave Gonzaga. Effective July 31, Fr. McGregor will be in Missoula, Mont. as superior of the Jesuits there and as assistant pastor at St. Francis Xavier Parish. “I thank G.U. for the blessings of its students, mission and my colleagues. I plan to continue media work through the parish,” he said. Gonzaga wishes Fr. McGregor all the best in his new assignment.