UA Little Rock Design Squad, Indians Student Association win honorable mention in ‘Cancel COVID’ video challenge

Odette Cooh, left, and Avinash Thombre, right, are part of the Indian Student Association who won honorable mention in the Arkansas Department of Health’s “Cancel COVID on College Campuses” video contest.

Two organizations from UA Little Rock, the Design Squad and the Indian Student Association (ISA), have won honorable mentions in the “Cancel COVID on College Campuses Video Challenge,” receiving $1,000 for each group.

Through its Office of Health Equity and the Be Well Arkansas program, the Arkansas Department of Health launched the competition by asking college students to submit short, fact-based YouTube videos that would motivate other students in response.

The Design Squad included art students Olivia Blair, Tatiana Correa, Savana Holland, and Madeline Hutson. The organization was advised by Dusty Higgins, assistant professor of digital art.

Illustration of and by Art Professor Dusty Higgins
Illustration by Dusty Higgins
Illustration of and by Tatiana Correa
Illustration by Tatiana Correa
Illustration of and by Savana Holland.
Illustration by Savana Holland

Advised by Dr. Avinash Thombre, professor of applied communication, graduate students Kalidash Adhikari and Odette Cooh each created a video that was then submitted on behalf of the Indian Student Association. In fact, Cooh said her video began as a way to earn extra credit for one of Thombre’s courses, but it ended with a feeling of accomplishment.

“I wasn’t even just excited because I won,” Cooh said. “It was the fact that I did something that was recognized that meant a lot to me. And it was not just for fun, this is something that was going to help people to change. I felt like I did something good. It was an achievement.”

The videos were judged based on their potential for impact, diversity, technical quality, creativity, viral potential, and the information included. They were required to use entertainment, emotion, creativity, and/or humor to promote and encourage COVID-19 safety, such as wearing facial masks correctly and practicing social distancing.

“These are things that we already know,” said Cooh. “Let’s stop from just saying ‘I know, I know,’ and start putting it into practice because, unless you start practicing it, nothing is going to change.”

The Design Squad’s video can be viewed on YouTube. Both Cooh’s video and Adhikari’s video can also be found on YouTube.

“I just pray that anyone who watches that video is just going to be reminded of what we have to be doing that is right,” Cooh said. “We all have to help cancel COVID-19.”

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