Photo: Chris Schmucki and Dan Zimmermann
“I’ve been interested in movie making for a long time,” said Schmucki when receiving the award, “ever since my grandmother gave me my first camera in the sixth grade.” Chris is the son of Ross and Kim Schmucki of Swarthmore.
Chris was one of 45 students in Dan Zimmermann’s Visual Communications classes at Strath Haven who worked on videos for the competition. Each year Zimmermann challenges his students to create videos for a local company or organization to give the students real-world experience working with a client.
Ten videos were submitted in this year’s competition. Schmucki’s video was selected by aFewSteps’ board of directors from among the four finalists.
“We were impressed with all four final submissions,” said aFewSteps’ president Phil Coleman, “but Chris’ video was a stand out. It did the best job creating a sense of urgency around the importance of switching to clean energy and at the same time showing how easy it is to make the switch.”
The competition was sponsored by aFewSteps, whose mission is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in our community. The local environmental group has evaluated the dozens of electricity providers and identified three 100% renewable options that support the local economy. The Energy Co-Op and Community Energy are based here in the Philadelphia area, and their wind farms and solar installations are located in Pennsylvania. Green Mountain Energy is not headquartered in Pennsylvania, but it has a pure Pennsylvania-sourced electricity option and supports local tree plantings.
“We know folks get a lot of unwanted phone calls about switching their electricity providers,” said aFewSteps’ policy chair Thurm Brendlinger. “We’ve tried to make the switch easier by narrowing down the choice to the best three renewable options.” Schmucki’s video highlighted these three energy providers.
“I tried to do a good job on this project because I think the environment is an important topic,” explained Schmucki. “I wanted to clearly state the problem - coal power plants - and the solution - renewable energy - as best as I could. Getting the serious tone right was the most important thing.”
Schmucki recruited a fellow student in Zimmermann’s class, Noah Mendell, to star in the video.
Schmucki said he will be sharing the $100 award with his classmate. But Mendell readily acknowledged, “Chris was the mastermind behind the project.”