Kari Whitney is livestreamed into WSU Pullman.
On April 8, she sent her teenage daughter to a Comicon convention, her husband to visit his brother, and the dog on a doggy playdate. The only thing she forgot was to close the windows.
That became important about 5:15 p.m. that day, when WSU Global Campus student Kari Whitney learned she and her team had won the university’s Global Case Competition. She let out a piercing squeal. “My windows were open,” she said, “and I can only imagine what the neighbors might have thought!”
The annual Case Competition brings together five teams of WSU students to solve a pressing problem. Each team comprises five students. This year’s focus was arbitrary detention in the U.S., and the top prize was a trip to Geneva to present solutions to United Nations representatives.
Kari, a humanities major, presented online from her home in Tacoma. WSU Global Connections, which helps online students participate in WSU activities, livestreamed her segment into a packed WSU Pullman auditorium, and over YouTube.
Most teams focused on immigrants and refugees. Kari’s team, Dignity Before Detention, looked at the inequity of jailing the poor because they couldn’t afford small fines, or to rent an ankle monitor.
“Since my contributions would be webcast,” Kari said, “I scripted myself and rehearsed repeatedly in front of a camera, occasionally sending a recording to my teammates for critique.”
During her time at WSU Global Campus, Kari has also been a student senator, and won a WSU Center for Civic Engagement award for writing about food bank clients. She’s highly organized, and like most Global Campus students, skilled at using technology to communicate.
“Kari was incredibly effective,” said teammate Margaret Wyckoff. “Once our connection went out. While I looked at what we were going to cover, she made an entire video of her part, uploaded it to YouTube and sent it to us. And it was really good.”
Teammate Kasey Markland said Kari was expert at collaborating over the Internet. “She would do the presentation in a way where we could see her, the presentation and her comments simultaneously.”
Kari heard about her win from the YouTube livestream. After startling the neighbors, she immediately texted her husband and daughter: “I'm going to Geneva!!!”
Her husband was delighted, but her daughter, Helen, was overjoyed. “We’re nothing if not a practical family,” Kari said. “Helen was ecstatic that my travel to Geneva might result in the appropriation of Swiss chocolate for her.”