GEORGETOWN COUNTY — Marsh Deane studied a medley of things in college, from landscape architecture to exercise science, but nothing ever stuck with him as something he would be passionate about doing forever.
Photography and videography were always hobbies, but it wasn’t until he interned at the Village Group in Georgetown as part of the UN Youth Corps with Coastal Carolina University that he considered pursuing it as a career.
“We were hosting a fundraiser in the spring, their Tour de Plantersville, and I just kind of saw an opportunity,” Deane said. “I said, ‘Hey, I can use photography or I can make some short videos to help them reach their fundraising goal.’ And it really just opened my eyes across the board to, ‘Wait a minute, I can actually make a career doing what I enjoy.’”
Now, after graduating from CCU in May 2019, Deane owns his own media company, MLNL Media, in Georgetown County and says without Georgetown RISE and the UN Youth Corps, he may have never found this path.
Georgetown RISE is a United Nations Regional Centre of Expertise on Education for Sustainable Development housed at Coastal Carolina University. RCE’s were created in 2003 as a way to focus global sustainability efforts into local communities, and Georgetown RISE — which stands for resilience, innovation and sustainability through education — is the only RCE in the coastal southeastern United States.
Through Georgetown RISE, CCU students can apply for paid internships called the UN Youth Corps. Sponsored by the Frances P. Bunnelle Foundation, a local Georgetown County foundation dedicated to promoting economic vitality, preserving the environment and encouraging youth development, the UN Youth Corps pairs students with places in Georgetown County, like the city of Georgetown’s administrative office and the county’s office of environmental services to focus on sustainable development efforts.
Pam Martin, executive director of Georgetown RISE, said some students during the current eight-week long spring UN Youth Corps cycle are working on affordable housing efforts in the county, while another is working on cyber security with Mercom.
“The point of the program is to train students to think more broadly about sustainable development and also to understand how individual organizations and individuals themselves can contribute to the broader conversation of creating a sustainable and resilient community,” Martin said.
In its fifth year, the UN Youth Corps not only helps Georgetown County by providing it young minds that are focused on sustainability, Martin said, but also encourages retention and post-graduation employment opportunities, as keeping students in Georgetown and Horry counties has been a challenge in recent years.
“Professionally, students are surprised I think that in a small coastal community like Georgetown, they can get such a diversity of high quality professional training by professionals who really care about them and take the time to show them the skills in their profession,” Martin said.
Deane said that opportunities like the UN Youth Corps are important not only for students to be able to see the world through a different lens, but also to the communities they serve. The communities, like Georgetown, get students who are from all walks of life, Deane said, to come in and work towards a common goal: making the community better for those who live in it now, and those who will live in it for the decades to come.
“For myself, I decided to stick around and pursue some of these problems that my eyes were opened to (in UN Youth Corps),” Deane said. “So I think there’s now an investment in the area that we’re going to benefit from.”