In September, more than two dozen Bethel students, alumni and other professional artists from the community gathered for the Center for Career Development and Global Engagement’s latest Instagram Takeover. During the Takeover, students explored Chicago, where they photographed Green Street Smoked Meats, the Robey Hotel and Low Res, a community-building creative arts studio. Representatives from each location shared their stories and advice with the group.

For Mathew Stackowicz, the Director of the Office of Career Development, the trip’s practicality is vital. “Standing behind a professional photographer, watching their shot and then stepping into their place to practice it. You never get that in a photography class,” says Stackowicz. “….This is essential knowledge that you only get on the field.”

There is more to the Takeovers than education, though. Senior Miranda Terry, a student worker for the Office of Career Development, highlighted the community she’s found through Bethel’s Takeovers. “These trips have opened my eyes to other creatives on campus,” says Terry. “I’ve made relationships with people in many different majors.” 

The diversity among the students who attend each trip is significant. Saturday’s expedition included students from Biology, Sports Management, English, Worship Arts, and Pre-Med majors. 

There are millions of ways for students to connect and learn from each other, so why Instagram Takeovers? To Stackowicz, they are the perfect way for students to spread Bethel’s name to businesses and young people. But beyond that, they give students tools they can use to tell meaningful stories through platforms their generation connects with. This, Stackowicz says, is a concept he hopes more Christian colleges grab on to.

“We need to be the best storytellers,” says Stackowicz. “We could inspire a nation, but if you have a great story with bad visual content or a tacky video, the message is lost.”