President’s Day at Macalester College

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You might have already heard about this YouTube video as several higher ed bloggers (mstonerblog, The Old College Try and edustir among others) and twitterers have mentioned it this week.

President’s Day at Macalester College is a 5-minute online video featuring President Brian Rosenberg.

Not your traditional college president video at all.

This online video is a humorous insider’s tour of Macalester College where the president does all sort of things to showcase the school and its spirit.

Take the time to watch it now if you haven’t yet.

Released on President’s Day – just 4 days ago, the video has more than 15,000 views – it’s not a huge hit in YouTube terms, but it’s definitely a popular video that resonated with the MAC community as some of the comments on YouTube prove it.

Here are just a few among the 22 that were posted on YouTube at the time of this writing:

  • I love this video! It makes me proud to be at Macalester. I think it takes courage and ability to look at things in a fun manner to do something like this. I am extremely proud to be a part of this community and I want to thank people whose creativity and hard work makes this college one of the most amazing academic environments in the country.
  • That was great! ….. Makes me even prouder to be a “Mac Dad”! 😉
  • It’s this kind of self-aware humor that makes the Mac community awesome.

Amy PhenixSince I know you are always interested in learning more about this kind of initiatives, I contacted Amy Phenix, director of Communications and PR at Macalester College, yesterday and asked her a few questions about this original video.

1) Can you tell us a bit more about this video? How did you get the idea? How did you convince your president to go for it?

The video was truly a collaborative effort with the president. We knew that we wanted to do more video as another way of engaging alumni. The communications team got together and brainstormed five concepts that we shared with the president and vice president for Advancement. I continued the brainstorm with them and we settled on President’s Day as the hook for a humorous look at campus and student life today, through the eyes of President Rosenberg. From the very first conversation, President Rosenberg was engaged. He came up with some of the funniest bits. No convincing was needed, which is a good thing because I don’t think it would have worked with a reluctant star.

2) How long did it take to create this video? How big was the team and how much did the video cost?

We shot all but one scene in a day (probably about 6 hours of shooting), and we turned it around edited in a week. It was a very fast production process and the shoot was well-orchestrated so we were able to stay on schedule.

The team included four people on our staff, plus an alum we hired to shoot and finalize the script.

It was very low-budget. Other than a freelance videographer, who spent about 40 hours on preparation, location scouting, script and shooting, we did all the work in house. Total cost was about $2,500.

3) How did you promote this video?

We sent it to our alumni (about half of whom we have email addresses for), friends, and current parents, promoted to the campus community, and posted on Facebook and Twitter. We also shared with reporters who cover higher education.

4) This video generated a lot of buzz (15,000 views and many mentions on blogs, etc.). Has it met its goals? Have you noticed a bump in donations or requests for information from prospective students yet?

We are extremely gratified with the response and have exceeded our goals. Because this is the first time we’ve done something like this we didn’t know what to expect. We have seen a bump in donors and donations. The impact on prospective students is a bit more difficult to gauge this early.

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