We (a fabulous team of admissions folks with some consulting and assistance from the Office of Communications) had this idea. It involved some excited kids with some big ideas and a good deal of Obie-anxiousness. We believe that if we harnessed this enthusiasm, we would get great things.
My class of 2010 Facebook group was a mess of chaotic enthusiasm with no direction. As an active participant in every class of 20xx group ever since, I know that an outlet for distraction and displaying personal identity is totally necessary. My year, we created a ridiculous amount of Facebook groups based on obscure interests, like, Magnetic Poetry in the Quad. Don’t ask how we were going to play with magnetic poetry outside in the grass, but gosh darn it, we were going to try. Similarly, there were groups for people who liked eating things with chopsticks, people who wanted to be pandas instead of a college student, people who like putting things on top of their head, people who were soulless, and people who were the spawn of other Obies (go legacies!). I actually left a great deal of these groups, many of which I created, just a few months ago. It felt like the end of an era.
Knowing that the incoming class just wants to get to Oberlin and hang out already, but there’s a mess of forms and a whole bunch of summer in between, we decided to create an opportunity to meet online, and converse about themselves and their skills and their ideas. Enter: the video challenge for the class of 2015.
The mission was simple:
In 60 seconds or less, demonstrate your enthusiasm for Oberlin. Go all out: sing, dance, draw, compose a poem, make a recipe, write a theorem, skip, jump, shout, or whatever tickles your fancy, as long as you can fit it into a short video to share with us.
Naturally, I wanted to make a video, too. This seemed like a totally great idea. I’m enthusiastic about Oberlin! I should tell the whole world (and no, this blog is not the only way to tell the whole world)! In addition to encouraging students to be enthusiastic, I wanted to be enthusiastic in a video, too.
To start us off, I made a video with my friend Lily and my brother Ben as videographer in Old Barrows Co-op, as we demonstrated our enthusiasm for Oberlin with co-op hand signals. OSCA was one of the things that drew me to Oberlin in the first place, and I spent eight semesters between Harkness Co-op and Brown Bag Co-op, so OSCA enthusiasm it was.
Take note of this crash course in basic OSCA sign language. It will serve you well should you choose to visit a co-op or live or dine in one in the future. Also, Lily is the cutest!
I posted this video the day the huge email introducing our fabulous contest and our fabulous prizes, and decided to make a few more, too. It’s always good to show that the people holding a contest are supportive of the contest itself, so I also made some short videos of some of the admissions staff, specifically Jesse and Joel.
Jesse works with students and applicants from parts of California and Ohio. He decided to share some of what makes Oberlin special, our randomness, as demonstrated by the Oberlin admissions office mail room, a totally awesome place I had never visited but always dreamed of after its existence had been alluded to in conversation.
The mail room is a secret magical place that everywhere you reach, you find something Oberlin. It’s the best.
Joel is the international admissions coordinator, which means he travels lots, works tons with TOEFL tests and passports, and probably circumnavigated the earth several times over. He chose to place post-it notes on a variety of countries which has Obies.
This video shows only a small fraction of the number of countries Oberlin represents.
Then I moved to the Communications office and videoed some of my delightful coworkers. Brandi and Stephen, dance partners for the past year and co-teachers of the Advanced Swing ExCo this past semester, danced their enthusiasm for Oberlin outside of our office.
They’re the best together. I like watching them dance, and now I’ve made a video of them dancing together too!
Harris, coding fiend and lover of all things that love Oberlin, did what he did best: make an adorably wonderful website. I sat and did a time-lapse of his coding and decided that I need a Harris around to make things beautiful forever. Behold the video below:
Protip: watch the video, and at the end, there’s a URL to the completed website! Visit it!
So, after putting up a few of these exciting videos, we started getting submissions. Each time I opened a new email video submission, I would giddily watch the enclosed minute of Obieness, then promptly send it via email or chat to someone in my office, undoubtedly saying THIS IS THE BEST. I LOVE OBERLIN. That is, until the next video came and I would shout THIS IS AWESOME. OBIES ARE AWESOME. Or something along those lines.
I know I can’t place any sort of value judgement on these videos, and no video demonstrating Oberlin enthusiasm could be better that any other because all enthusiasm is good ethusiasm, but to continue that high-level trajectory of awesome with every single video was something I totally didn’t expect. It seemed that each video I got tapped into another section of Oberlin excitement or creativity that I would be foolish not to think of when describing our college, but each time it came up, I was surprised I hadn’t thought of it earlier.
So, what are the videos? Our incoming Obies….
And yes, all those red highlighted things are links to their videos. Go watch them! They’re totally fantastic! (Or if you want to watch all of them at once, check out this playlist I made on Youtube!)
After receiving all the videos, our panel of lovely judges were selected very scientifically (actually, not, we just all care about our incoming Obies, awesome things, short films, and are all present in Oberlin this summer) to narrow down our videos to the top ten. Our judging team consisted of blogging rockstar Ida, summer admissions intern rockstar Will, admissions officer Jesse (who helped create this video competition), cinema studies professor Jeff Pence, and myself.
We grouped, we ranked, we emailed a voting ballot to all our students, and the following students won things! And by things, I mean totally enviable prizes. I would love to own all these things. I wish I was in the class of 2015!
1st prize - an iPad 2. Congrats, Devon Wells ‘15 (with some excellent video assistance from Evan Cameron ‘15).
2nd prize - an iPod touch. Congrats, Max Haight ‘15!
3rd prize - an Oberlin sweatshirt. Congrats, Hannah Lemkowitz ‘15!
Congratulations to all our video makers EmmaElizabethBenjaminLukeDevonHannahMiranda PoonRobertSarahSashaWeelicAnaisAriannaMaxTaiyoGarretJulesAmbre!