Stories about the Future Based on Decisions of Today

A failure to understand the downstream consequences of present day actions are often a significant obstacle to motivating ethical behavior.  Unfortunately, it is often difficult to comprehend how our actions in the present can have a significant negative impact on our future.  Further, it is even more difficult to motivate society at large to attend to and appreciate how seemingly mundane decisions in the present can have a devastating effect on our future.

“Downstream” is a competition aimed at challenging the intellect and creativity of UCF students.  Students are to develop story-based video vignettes that capture and convey the downstream consequences of present day actions.  These vignettes should fit with the upcoming international interdisciplinary conference “Evolution, the Environment, and Responsible Knowledge” (January 26-28, 2009), and the UCF Unifying Theme “The Environment and Global Climate Change” (GEP), by addressing issues relating to our current and future environment.

Our goal is to support a responsible approach to knowledge; specifically, we encourage our students to help us clarify and disseminate the best information to formulate an appropriate response to biological, social, and ethical challenges we are facing now and will face in the future.

Prizes will be awarded to the story-based video vignettes that are best able to demonstrate a compelling and scientifically/legally plausible story of some future context that results “downstream” from some decision or action of today.  Our goal is to use the power of story to succinctly capture and broadcast an element of something of societal significance, yet not presently receiving the attention it deserves.

Competition Rules:

Entrants must be individual students or teams of students from the University of Central Florida

Entries can be from any area supporting the EERK conference theme, including (but not limited to):

The consequences of over-development or short-term economic decisions on long-term environmental health

The long-term implications of present day legal decisions related to the environment

The effect of political policy overriding science through shifts in funding or the dilution of scientific findings in the dissemination of information to the public

All entries should end with a “slide” containing the following information on a black background:

Conference Title: “Evolution, the Environment, and Responsible Knowledge

Full name(s) of student(s) involved

Date completed

Title of vignette

Embedded within the story must be:

A succinct description of the issue(s)
An illustration of the present day decision that led to the downstream consequence(s)
An illustration/description of the outcome(s) or consequence(s) of the decision

Vignettes must be no less than 3 minutes and no longer than 10 minutes in length

Students are encouraged to be creative with their manipulation of story elements (e.g., characters), narrative structure, and use of text and imagery

All entries must be posted on YouTube with a link emailed to Dr. Stephen M. Fiore ( no later than 11:59pm on January 10th 2009.

Evaluation and Judging:

The specific guidelines for judges will be posted here shortly

Entries will be evaluated on both the power and the plausibility of the vignette

Evaluation will be conducted by a panel of (3-7) UCF Student Judges

Prizes will be awarded for the top three videos:

1st Prize  – $500
2nd Prize – $300
3rd Prize – $150

Winning entries will be premiered at a special session of the EERK conference in January


Competition Brought to you in part by:

The Department of Philosophy: Ethics Center Initiative

The Center for Humanities and Digital Research: Digital Narrative Group

IF: Information Fluency

The Burnett Honors College, UCF

The Office of Undergraduate Studies, UCF