Students in Florida International University’s Mobile Virtual Reality Lab are now partnering with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to create stories about sea level rise in South Florida – told through virtual reality.
As part of the Before It’s Too Late initiative that focuses on engaging users with VR storytelling about climate change, FIU journalism and digital media students are localizing climate issues in profound vignettes and group simulations that bring to life future worlds driven by user decisions.
South Florida communities and key policy and business leaders will be exposed to these immersive videos through a nationwide tour.
Other initial project partners include FIU’s Sea Level Solutions Center, Stanford University, George Mason University, and the University of Miami.
“We are excited to partner again with MIT on shaping local and national stories about sea level rise,” said Dr. Robert Gutsche, Jr., Assistant Professor in FIU’s Department of Journalism + Media and Faculty Lead of the Mobile Virtual Reality Lab. “Not only do our students benefit from exposure to such projects and partners, but they contribute to important international dialogues about our changing planet.”
Gutsche will lead FIU students with Dr. Juliet Pinto, also in the Department of Journalism + Media, to place FIU students at the center of innovative storytelling about climate change.
“We are so lucky to be able to partner with innovative, engaged and collaborative partners such as FIU to launch our pilot for South Florida,” said Linda Cheung, co-founder of Before It’s Too Late and an MBA student at MIT Sloan. “We believe that this will be a unique opportunity for talented, passionate students to become part of a initiative which allows them to work with exciting partners all over the country, including the biggest players in the VR industry, other universities, leading climate organizations and their own mayors and county governments.”
Cheung said she hopes the project makes an impact.
“This is an opportunity to drive real impact at home in South Florida,” she said. “We can’t wait to see the stories, creativity and insights that the students will deliver.”