Campus unveils DVD project

Fri, 2012-07-27 08:25 -- univcomm
Anderson University is one of the first in the Council for Christian Colleges to produce a DVD aimed at students. “We’ve been trying to keep this a secret for awhile!” Jim King, director of admissions for the university, admitted with a laugh. “We’re trying to create kind of a ‘window into AU’ with this project.” [Editor’s note: Click here to see a special trailer and receive your free copy] The idea of a promotional DVD about AU is around five years old. Don Boggs, the general manager for Covenant Productions®, remembered how such promotions used to be accomplished: “In the ‘80s, we used to create VHS tapes for the Admissions Office to hand out at college fairs and give to visiting students.” But with the growing popularity of the Internet in the early ‘90s, the tapes were left by the wayside, and AU began to tell its story through its Web site. While the site certainly serves its purpose, King said that it still didn’t provide a sufficient “feel” for the university’s atmosphere. “That’s what the DVD is for,” he added.

While there are many different facets to the DVD, there is one element that is expressed throughout. Faith. Interviews with parents, students, faculty – many mention their faith, a thing that is central to AU. Interviews with communication faculty reveal their conviction that “Jesus is the ultimate communicator.” Theater department professors tell students that AU can “prepare you to change the world when God says ‘You. Now. Go.’”

This faith is not just expressed in words – a film of Moving Day, when students move into their dorms in the fall, shows the caring, helping attitude of the “Yellow Shirts,” veteran students who have volunteered to help move in their new neighbors. “Everyone is willing to help,” says one relieved student.

Another thing the DVD certainly does provide is information. Lots of it. The menu has such options as campus life (with features on housing, and extracurricular activities and athletics), spiritual life (focusing on the faith that is central to AU), a FAQs section, and bonus features (including but not limited to the AU trailer which can be seen online, and AU’s well-known Christmas production, Candles and Carols).

Then there is the chapter about academic life at the university. Currently, only six departments out of AU’s 60 majors are represented on the DVD (art and design, business, communication, music, nursing, and religious studies). Michael Collette, vice president for enrollment management, stated that the admissions department will be adding to the DVD and updating it over the years. “We’re hoping to add five departments or majors every year, updating the old ones as we add.”

Collette added that individual departments within AU will be encouraged to create their own segments through Covenant Productions® and add them to the DVD archives. “Also, if any department wants to create a DVD of their own, they can pull [content] from this central DVD.”

Boggs pointed out that the average, 10-minute admissions video wouldn’t allow you to exhibit the university in the same way the DVD does. “If someone just wants to find out about the communication department, they’re not going to want to sit through Candles and Carols. They’re certainly not going to want to fast forward through all these other things, looking for what they want.”

Considering the large amount of information on the DVD itself, something a little smaller was necessary. “Just a nice, compact, concise nutshell overview of the DVD,” is how Boggs described the project’s online trailer.

But what goes on such a trailer? How do you boil down all these facts, these departments, these majors into a two-minute summary?

Boggs puzzled over that question for awhile before tackling the job. “I stepped back and said, ‘What do parents and students want to know the most?’ And I realized it’s a scary choice – leaving home. Sociologically, it’s a major life change, for students and parents.”

With that in mind, Boggs attempted to create a trailer with one underlying theme: “This is a place you can feel good about.” He wanted to show students that they could have fun and still get a valuable education, at the same time demonstrating to parents that AU is a trustworthy institution.

“Before they send their children off to any college, parents are saying, ‘I prize them more than anything. Why should I trust you, Anderson University, with my child?’” Boggs said. “I hope this trailer is not so much bragging on AU’s strengths but rather representing the truth of its character.”

Anderson University in Anderson, Ind., is a private, Christian, liberal arts institution of approximately 2,600 undergraduate and graduate students. Established in 1917 by the Church of God (Anderson, Ind.), the university offers more than 60 undergraduate degrees and graduate programs of study in business, education, nursing and theology.

— Student writer Chris Wolfgang works in the AU Office of Media and Electronic Communications