MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – West Virginia University announced on Thursday that the documentary, “Breathe, Nolan, Breathe,” has won an Emmy.
Officials explained that in the year since West Virginia University launched the “Would You? Campaign” to raise bystander awareness regarding hazing and binge drinking on college campuses has gained traction on other campuses.
The documentary, produced in collaboration with Daniel Catullo, CEO of City Drive Studios who attended WVU, details the death of Nolan Burch, who died of alcohol poisoning after an unsanctioned fraternity event on Nov. 14, 2014.
“Breathe, Nolan, Breathe” also won the IndieFEST Film Award of Excellence last week and was named Best Film of the 2020 Feedback Documentary Film Festival.
By educating students on the dangers of binge drinking and hazing, Dean of Students Corey Farris said he hopes that WVU and colleges across the nation can prevent unnecessary tragedies like Burch’s.
“We’ve seen increased awareness of the dangers associated with these behaviors and believe the campaign has been a catalyst for positive change,” Farris said. “Through these conversations, especially when combined with a showing of the film, ‘Breathe, Nolan, Breathe,’ we have had students tell us that they will work to end hazing and binge drinking among their peers.”
Director of the Center for Fraternal Values and Leadership, Matthew Richardson, has been sharing “Would You?” around the region with other college campuses such as Penn State University and the University of Pittsburgh.
“We intentionally did not brand the ‘Would You?’ campaign toolkit so that these resources could be utilized at any campus, school, or organization,” Richardson said.
Richardson explained that WVU leaders have seen significant changes in attitudes and personal viewpoints surrounding hazing by students, faculty, and staff, as well as WVU alumni and beyond.
Sharon Martin, vice president for University Relations and Enrollment Management, oversaw the Campaign’s development and served as an executive producer for the documentary.
“We never want to lose another student to hazing,” Martin said. “WVU is grateful to work with Nolan’s parents to share his story as a catalyst for a positive cultural shift in student life. The campaign is being used by organizations, schools, teachers, guidance counselors, and students around the country to begin an organic approach of using conversation and empowerment to eradicate hazing on a national scale.”
The University continues to work closely with Burch’s parents, TJ and Kim, who established the NMB Foundation in memory of their late son to educate young adults about the dangers of hazing.