BYU communications students premiere 5th installment of ‘A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief Project’

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Students and faculty members from the BYU College of Civil Engineering and the BYU School of Communications gather to see the premiere of the “A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief Project.” Students and faculty ate pizza, watched the mini-documentary and reminisced about their time spent in the Dominican Republic. (Derek VanBuskirk)

Three students of the BYU School of Communications, along with two members of its staff, went to the Dominican Republic to film the fifth installment of their mini-documentary series “A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief Project.”

The series aims to highlight the work that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and BYU have done to bless the lives of people in different countries and of different cultures.

Each segment of the series focuses on one of the verses of the hymn “A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief.” The seven-verse song tells a story of how a man helping a beggar expecting nothing in return, only to discover that it was Christ the whole time.

The latest installment focuses on the third verse of the hymn, in which the man helps the beggar quench his thirst, by focusing on how students of the BYU Civil Engineering program helped the National Institute of Hydraulic Resources in the Dominican Republic.

This segment focuses on two of the six groups of students who visited the Dominican Republic.

One of the group’s projects involves the historical mapping of floods with the goal to alert people to the seriousness of these floods.

“If they can better know the impact of the kind of flood that’s coming they can evacuate, they can react better, they can prepare,” Rebecca Rasmussen, a BYU civil engineering student in the group, said.

The second group mentioned in this installment was also data-driven, with the goal of helping to improve the lives of everyday Dominicans.

“Part of our project is to design an app that forecasts and displays the data for reservoirs in the Dominican Republic so that they can know how much water should be coming into a reservoir,” Jude Mattice, a BYU civil engineering student in the second group, said.

Students gather in front of the National Institute of Hydraulic Resources in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. These are students and faculty members from the BYU College of Civil Engineering and the BYU School of Communications. (Melissa Gibbs)

Although the video focuses on the work of BYU civil engineering students, there was a lot of work put on by students of the BYU School of Communications behind the scenes.

These students spent their week in the Dominican Republic filming hundreds of hours of footage of meetings, interviews and B-roll to make a four-and-a-half-minute documentary.

Liesel Allen, one of the communications students on the project, said although the process of sorting through all the footage was tedious, she found satisfaction in editing the videos together as she got to see where the story was taking itself.

Allen also shared that this experience stretched her videography skills and taught her to be open when filming — as one never quite knows what story they are going to tell.

The documentary premiered on March 29 in the Universe Live newsroom of the Brimhall Building on campus. Guests from the communications and civil engineering departments gathered to eat pizza and watch the newest segment of the “A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief Project.”

“I thought the premiere went really well. It was a relief to finally have our project finished, and it was such a treat to present it to the engineers. I’ve gained a huge appreciation for the work they do, and I hope our video reflected that,” Alyssa Regis, one of the communications students on the project, said.

The BYU School of Communications began this project in May 2017 and is set to finish it this year with a trip, and a documentary, in Poland and Nauvoo.

The latest segment of the “A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief” can be seen here.

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