Media Sandbox Michigan State University

Welcome to the 2015-16 Media Sandbox Creative Challenge!

  • Binge drinking
  • Sexual assault
  • Depression
  • Anorexia
  • Anxiety
  • Obesity
  • Racism
  • Suicide

The Challenge

Choose one of the issues listed above and craft a unique, creative message that will help MSU students get a handle on it (cope, stop, seek, etc.). There are no limits to what you may create. Use your imaginations!

Judges will evaluate

  • The originality and creativity of the submitted work.
  • How effectively your elements communicate their intended messages.
  • Your overall execution of the work.
  • The professionalism of your presentation.


As always, there are considerable cash awards for the top entries!

Grand Prize: $5,000

Second Place: $2,500

Third Place: $1,000

You may do this alone or with a team (maximum of four students)

If competing alone, you must be an undergraduate student majoring in the College of Communication Arts and Sciences. Groups must be at least one half from the College and be no larger than four students. All work must created by the students.


1) Enter: Fill out this entry form by Feb. 5, 2016, the day your research document is due. (The form is also available on the Media Sandbox Website Students who sign up for the Challenge will be expected to complete it.

2) Do your research: Learn all about your chosen topic thoroughly. You must provide a 1,000-word document detailing your findings.

3) Produce the media for your campaign: Communicate with your audience using whatever media platforms you decide will be most effective to achieve your goals. The choice is yours. All media must be professionally produced. Be creative. Go beyond the expected, the predictable, the cliché. Ask yourself what message have students not heard before on this subject; what is something unique that will get their attention and hold it?

YOU MUST MEET PRE-SET PROGRESS GOALS DURING THE SPRING SEMESTER or risk disqualification (see calendar below). We are also working to find a panel of professional mentors (coaches!) to work with you by offering feedback. This will be decided early next semester. You will be expected to communicate with these mentors throughout the competition.

BRANDING: The name “Media Sandbox” and the colorful “S” logo must appear somewhere in each of your materials. (We will supply the logo.) Likewise, the name of our college and university: College of Communication Arts and Sciences and Michigan State University

4) Pitch your work to a panel of judges: On Friday, April 16 you will have ten minutes to present your campaign to a panel of judges, who will choose the top three winners.

5) Hopefully win!!  Winners will be announced at 2016 Alumni Awards Celebration on Saturday, April 17. To be eligible to win, at least one member of your group must attend the 2016 Alumni Awards Celebration.


1) Entry form: Students wanting to compete must sign up to do the Challenge by filling out this entry form. You must fill out this form before the progress goal on Feb. 5.

2) Spring progress reviews: Students must meet the following milestones below and present their progress to a Sandbox faculty panel. (If professional alumni mentors are involved, then student must make their work available to them online by each of the progress dates.)  If faculty feels there has not been enough progress at each point, or that students are not communicating with mentors, then faculty have the option to disqualify the student(s).

Mandatory Review to see where your work stands (if on a team, only one of you needs to present):

  1. Friday, February 5, 3:00 pm: Deadline for presenting research document.
  2. Friday, February 26, 3 pm: Present your attack plan and a rough draft of all the media elements you intend to produce. These can be simple mockups. Videos can be shown as storyboards. There must be a clear indication of progress in all platforms.
  3. Friday, March 25, 3:00 pm: Present a tighter draft of all media elements. There must be a clear indication of progress in all platforms from last presentation.

3) Friday, April 15, 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. 

Meet in room CAS 148 at 4 pm to find out which room you will presenting in and in what order.

You have ten minutes to present your final media strategy to a panel of judges, who will choose the top three prize winners.

4) Saturday, April 16, 5:30 p.m. in WKAR Studios: Winners are announced at the 2016 Alumni Awards Celebration. Important note: To be eligible to win at least one member of your team must attend this event.

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To qualify:

All entries must:

  • contain a research document in English
  • have English subtitles for any entry not in English and a translator present to explain the media elements
  • be wholly the original work of the entrant(s);
  • created solely by the entrant(s);
  • not be copied from any other source;
  • not have been previously published or otherwise distributed or disseminated in any media or format;
  • not be in the public domain
  • not be in violation of or conflict with the trademark, copyright, rights of privacy, rights of publicity, or any other rights, of any kind or nature, of any other person or entity. Contestants submitting videos or other materials where people are visible in the medium must have permission of all individuals who appear. Entries not satisfying these criteria in any respect will be disqualified. By submitting an entry, the entrant grants the College of Communication Arts and Sciences a non-exclusive, assignable, perpetual license to display, reproduce, publish, distribute, transmit, exhibit, exploit, and license the entry and any portions thereof in any format (collectively “distribute” or “distribution,” as applicable) by any and all means, uses, and media, whether audio, print, audiovisual, or otherwise, now or hereafter known, throughout the universe in all languages. Entrants further agree that CAS shall have the first right to distribute the entry unless CAS waives that right, in writing; CAS’s first right to distribute shall automatically expire on April 20, 2017. Entrants retain the copyright and all other rights in the work.
Michigan State UniversityCollege of Communication Arts and Sciences


MSU Media Sandbox is a creative CURRICULUM and COMMUNITY in the College of Communication Arts & Sciences at Michigan State University.