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Fuse program continues to gain momentum

Two Missouri State University students walk toward Carrington Hall.
Jesse Scheve
Two Missouri State University students walk toward Carrington Hall.

Our weekly program, Missouri State Journal, is a collaboration between KSMU Radio and Missouri State University. It's hosted and produced by MSU's Office of Strategic Communication, and it airs each Tuesday morning at 9:45 a.m. on KSMU. 

A fuse lights a fire, generates a spark and leads to big changes.

Likewise, the Missouri State University Ad team started something big in the 2020-2021 academic year by creating a campaign to prevent radicalization, which they called Fuse.

"I was really proud of what the students produced," said Samantha Francka, marketing and communications coordinator for international programs at MSU. She advises the Ad Team and now serves as a co-PI for a major federal grant. She also serves as a resource to the Fuse team that is spreading its message.

"They found that a lot of people are having a hard time having tough conversations - politics, religion, all those things that we're told not to talk about," she said.

This led to the development of an immersive campaign called Fuse, which included the development of a game and podcast to inspire conversation. Then she and Dr. Stephen Spates and Alex Johnson were awarded a competitive federal grant to keep it going.
Furthering the mission

At this stage, to meet the goals of the grant funding, Francka says the team is trying to fan the flames to spread the mission across campus by getting in front of as many people as possible.

Besides sharing on social and traditional media, they really want to get in the rooms and have the conversations so people can experience Fuse's full impact.

"As part of that presentation, you get to learn about why it's so difficult to talk about these topics. We learn about implicit bias and how we all kind of come to the table with that. And then we also have an opportunity to actually play the card game that the students developed."

Fuse encourages university students to engage in meaningful conversations on difficult topics and form connections with peers, and it's evident that this mission and method speaks to people.

"I think the coolest part for me now is that it's not the students who originated the idea. It's new students directing Fuse now," she said. "They're just so passionate about the mission that they're carrying it forward."

Visit Fuse

Nicki received a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Business Administration from Missouri State in marketing, in 2002 and 2004 respectively. After gaining experience in writing, marketing, special event planning, fundraising and public relations, she returned to the university to work in the office of strategic communication. There she tells the university’s story by sharing the stories of individuals at Missouri State.