Two Radio and Television students place second in national video competition.

Tiffany Ervin ’13 and Teresa Trotta ’13

Two Department of Communication and Journalism students won second-place awards for their entries in a national video competition.

Tiffany Ervin ’13 and Teresa Trotta ’13, both juniors in the Radio and Television program, created the award-winning videos for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Choose My Plate Fruits and Veggies Video Challenge, a national public service announcement contest. The USDA was seeking “inspiring and instructive videos that provide innovative, easy and practical tips on how to add more fruits and vegetables to your diet on a budget.”

Scott Alboum, video technologies coordinator, told the students in his fall 2011 TV Production course about the contest, and Ervin and Trotta each produced and submitted a video in the competition. Both students will receive $1,000 for their winning entries.

Ervin’s video, titled Let’s Get Involved, won second place in the Tips for Kids category and focuses on getting children excited about fruits and vegetables by involving them in the shopping process. Ervin said the concept evolved from a conversation that she had with her sister, April, who recalled how much of a hassle that it used to be to have her children eat their fruits and vegetables. That changed when she began to encourage her children to pick out their own produce at the store.

“I think it was a great opportunity. Now I can put on my résumé that I placed second in a government-sponsored competition,” Ervin said. “Aside from the money, I’m happy to have had the experience.”

Trotta’s entry in the Tips When Eating Away from Home category, Pack Your Lunch Bag with Fruits and Veggies!, offers advice for people on the go who, according to the video, want to “make sure they fill half their plate (or lunch bag) with fruits and veggies! It saves tons of money and calories!”

“The concept of the video came to me after thinking about how difficult it is for busy college students to grab something healthy on their way to class, work or internships,” said Trotta, who plans to buy a new laptop with the prize money. “Although it takes a few extra minutes of planning in the morning, it really is important for students to think about what they are eating because a healthy alternative can help us be productive throughout our hectic day.”

The Video Challenge is one of many run by federal agencies to find innovative or cost–effective submissions or improvements to ideas, products and processes. A panel of experts judged each submission on the quality of the idea (including creativity and originality); the implementation of the idea (including video and photo quality and creativity); and its potential impact on healthy eating habits (including how instructive, easy-to-follow and cost-effective the idea is). There were 142 entries, and the winners were announced on December 28. The videos can be viewed on the challenge web page: