Spartans will be all over Austin, Texas for the South by Southwest conference this week, as attendees, presenters, contest participants and all-around awesome people.

This Friday marks the beginning of the South by Southwest (SXSW) Interactive conference in Austin, Texas. The conference is part of the broader South by Southwest event, bringing together interactive technologies, film, and music into a two week event. And this year, Spartans are taking it by storm!

MSU Out of the Box

The Media Sandbox Street Team – a student group combining phenomenal journalism, creative advertising and media studies talents – are travelling to Austin via Indianapolis, Nashville and Dallas. Along the way they are using their skills to help nonprofit organizations through the development of marketing strategies and creative content. When they arrive in Austin they will experience SXSW through the free public events, as tickets to the conference were outside their budget. Read more about MSU Out of the Box on the Society for News Design website.

This project started as a crowd funding effort, and they are still looking for financial support. You can contribute to the project at


Three students will be competing in the finals of Student Startup Madness at SXSW Interactive on March 10. The competition is a startup business design and pitching contest. Several MSU student teams entered, and the CarbonCash team made it to the final round. Their app encourages college students to reduce their carbon footprint by tracking and reducing their electricity use. The team members include Bernie Eisbrenner, Jon Bauer, and Patrick Schmitz. Read more on the MSU Today website.

This is the second year MSU has had a team compete in the Entrepreneurial Eight level of the Student Startup Madness competition. TempoRun took first place at the 2013 event.

Visually Turning Complexity into Clarity

Karl Gude, Graphics Editor in Residence at Michigan State University School of Journalism, will be sharing his expertise on a panel at SXSW Interactive. The panel, “Visually Turning Complexity into Clarity,” will discuss ways of finding visual stories in data and ways to illustrate the stories. Gude, who previously worked as the Director of Information Graphics for The Associated Press and Newsweek Magazine, and he advises the MSU Out of the Box student group attending SXSW. He will be joined by Fernanda Viegás (Google), Graham Roberts (The New York Times), and Ronnie Lipton (author and consultant).

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