The Minerals Education Coalition (MEC), a committee of the Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration (SME) Foundation, is an outreach program for K-12 students, teachers, and the general public. The organization develops and delivers K-12 education materials, activities, and public awareness outreach about mining and minerals. MEC's innovative Move Mining competitions seek to educate the public about the relationship of mining to their daily lives and change misperceptions about the mining industry.
Move Mining’s participants are charged with using technology and creativity to develop a three-minute video presenting their concept to positively "move" the public's negative perception of mining. Submissions have addressed how mining is necessary for our economy, energy, environment, national security, infrastructure, innovations, technology, and safety. Competing teams submit their video along with a one-page abstract. A consortium selects four finalists, and one finalist is chosen by "People's Choice." These five finalists present before a live panel of judges, "Shark Tank" style, at the SME Annual Conference & Expo. The contest winner is picked before a live audience and receives a cash prize of $5,000. Cash prizes are also awarded for second and third place.
Move Mining Next Gen, for K-12 students, challenges teams to create videos that educate audiences on how mining is important to our daily lives. Students use the knowledge gained from individual research in classroom education teams to create their three-minute videos and some work with families and friends at home. The videos are presented online and voted on by a panel of expert volunteers for several categories, as well as by the public for the People's Choice Award. The Best Overall Video receives a cash prize of $1,000. Grade level-specific prizes are awarded as well.
These competitions encourage thought about mining, not only for the participants and members of the live audiences, but also reach an extended international audience by soliciting votes via social media. MEC also uses Facebook Live to stream the competitions and leverages SME's social media channels to continue outreach after the contest has ended.