(June 21, 2013) -- "Behind Closed Doors: Voices from the Inside," a documentary film created in 2011 by social work graduate students in the UTSA College of Public Policy, has been chosen by the Council on Social Work Education as one of nine official selections in its 2013 Virtual Film Festival.
Through Sept. 6, social work educators nationwide can view the film with their students as an educational resource.
"The main relevance of this documentary for social work instructors is that it provides a transformational learning experience that simply cannot be found in a classroom," said Robert Ambrosino, senior lecturer in the Department of Social Work. "The students are afforded the opportunity to gain knowledge about policy advocacy through a compelling real-life experience."
Each year, tens of thousands of underage girls in the United States are impacted in some way by the horrible reality of domestic minor sex trafficking. In late 2011, graduate students enrolled in Ambrosino' s advanced policy class decided to cast a light on what they perceived to be a too often ignored social issue.
"My advanced policy class chose to highlight the domestic trafficking of minors for their assignment because of how closely it is connected to our community," said Ambrosino. "Interstate 10, which crosses Texas, is a major conduit for human trafficking and runs right through San Antonio."
The UTSA students created a documentary to share compelling and often horrific personal stories of human trafficking victims while dispelling common myths about the subject. Over the course of 10 weeks, the students, with help from the community, took turns filming, producing and editing what ultimately became "Behind Closed Doors: Voices from the Inside," which they premiered at UTSA in August 2011.
"It was extremely difficult to hear the stories of teenage girls, some of whom have been trafficked since they were as young as eight years old, as well as those of adult survivors who have borne long-lasting emotional scars as a result of being trafficked," he said. "But, our students felt it necessary to dispel myths about domestic minor sex trafficking among members of the general community and build upon what was being talked about in the state senate at the time."
To view and discuss the nine films, participants should sign into or register for Google+, go to "Communities," search for "CSWE Film Festivals," click the film festival logo and click "Ask to Join."
Community members will be able to not only view and discuss "Behind Closed Doors: Voices from the Inside" but also complete rating sheets online. The highest rated student film, as determined by the audience rating sheets, will receive the Virtual Ovation Award and a $500 prize.
The annual Center for Innovation, Technology and Entrepreneurship (CITE) 100K Venture Competition and Exposition will be held on the Main Campus on Dec. 1. Twenty-eight teams from across the university will exhibit their project; six teams will compete for a prize pool of more than $100,000 in funding to launch their new venture / company. More than 650 students have participated in launching new technology ventures.
Biotechnology, Sciences and Engineering (BSE 2.102), Main Campus
This concert features 50 community children performing music in the UTSA Downtown String Project Winter Concert. The children, led by UTSA music students studying to be music teachers, will join together in playing the Theme from Batman at their concert. The Batman of San Antonio, a local celebrity figure, will make an appearance at the concert. This event is free.
Buena Vista Theatre, Downtown Campus
Graduate student uses storytelling to highlight important issues facing children
As touch screens and e-books demand more and more attention from both casual readers and scholars, many people say the handwriting is on the wall for the printed page.
At UTSA, the handwriting is on the wall for a library that doesn't have any printed books.
Since March 2010, the bookless library in the Applied Engineering and Technology Building has given UTSA students an innovative way to read, research and work with each other to solve problems.
With ultra-modern furniture and a décor featuring desktop computers, scanners and LCD screens, the AET Library is designed to engage students in an online format. But it also offers group study niches and study rooms with whiteboards and glass walls on which students can write. The space encourages teamwork, communications and problem solving for the next generation of scientists and professional engineers.
Did you know? The UTSA AET Library is the nation's first completely bookless library on a college or university campus. It served as a model for Bexar County's first-in-the-nation public bookless library system and one of its branches, the Dr. Ricardo Romo BiblioTech.
The University of Texas at San Antonio is dedicated to the advancement of knowledge through research and discovery, teaching and learning, community engagement and public service. As an institution of access and excellence, UTSA embraces multicultural traditions and serves as a center for intellectual and creative resources as well as a catalyst for socioeconomic development and the commercialization of intellectual property - for Texas, the nation and the world.
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