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Chapman difference-makers are ready for their TV closeup

September 17, 2010

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As a CBS2 TV reporter launching a new series of feature reports on people making a difference in their community, Whitney Drolen ’01 naturally thought of her alma mater first. Which is why Drolen and a videographer were on campus Tuesday to profile  two Chapman University seniors.

One is Shauna Fleming ’11, who founded a nonprofit called “A Million Thanks,” which helps students and others send letters and text messages of thanks to service members overseas. Shauna reached her goal of 1 million letters and just kept going. In fact, her organization recently passed the 5 million letter mark. More information is at amillionthanks.org.

A separate feature will focus on Sarah Van Zanten ’11, a spokesperson for “Love is Respect,” a national teen dating abuse helpline. Since escaping an abusive relationship in high school, Van Zanten has been speaking out at Chapman and elsewhere to educate peers about ways to avoid or end cycles of abuse. More info: www.loveisrespect.org.

Fleming’s story inaugurated the series on Thursday during the afternoon CBS2 newscast. The good news is the feature will likely repeat often during later newscasts on both Channel 2 and its sister station, KCAL 9 and can be viewed in the CBS2 archives.

Van Zanten’s feature will air a week later during the same newscast.

While on campus Tuesday, Drolen got a chance to swap stories with her mentor, Pete Weitzner, associate professor and director of broadcast journalism in Chapman’s Dodge College of Film and Media Arts. Drolen will return later this month to share insights with Weitzner’s current students.

Drolen has nothing but good things to say about her Chapman experience, noting she sometimes mentions the university during her traffic reports. Something like, “There’s an accident on the 5 in Orange County, near my alma mater, Chapman University.” Thanks for the shout-outs, Whitney — they’re almost enough to get us to root for more freeway tie ups.

Almost.

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