Eduvation Blog

Midwinter Magic!

This year’s Ten with Ken Holiday Special starts with part 1: Midwinter Magic!

In last year’s higher ed holiday videos, campus marketers were clearly anxious about doing a good job, such as at the Bryan School of Business & Economics at the University of North Carolina Greensboro, Upper Iowa University, Chambers College of Business & Economics at West Virginia University, and Newcastle & Stafford College Group. Some campus leaders invite lots of input, such as at the Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism at the University of Southern California. But president Ryan of the University of Virginia took matters into his own hands, in the best-in-class “presidential message” video.

As always, hundreds of videos were just animated greeting cards, but some stood out from UBC Okanagan, Otis College of Art & Design in Los Angeles, and the Mellon College of Science at Carnegie Mellon University. The best-in-class “miniature campus” video came from New York’s Barnard College.  We saw tree-trimming or tree-lighting ceremonies at Sweet Briar College, Mount Saint Vincent University, King’s University College, and DePaul University. Meadow Brook Hall at Oakland University was decked with all the trimmings, while Elon University released an hour-long “yule log” video (without a fireplace).

Many campuses are beautiful in winter, and snow sports featured in videos from Bishop’s University, McGill University, Western Carolina University, and Trent University. At the University of Minnesota, Carlson School of Management staged ice sculpting. But in the southern hemisphere, the holidays fall at the height of summer – so Santa visits the University of Western Australia wearing shorts and sandals!

One new trend in last year’s videos was giant snowglobes on campuses, including Grand Valley State University in Michigan, the University of Leicester in England, and the University of La Verne in California.

Although it started two years back, the use of robots in holiday videos really accelerated last year. Some good examples came from the University of South Florida, the UCLA Robotics & Mechanisms Lab, Germany’s Forschungszentrum Informatic research centre, and perhaps even the Western University Archives.

Eschewing tradition, the Chancellor of Purdue University Indianapolis was sent on a scavenger hunt, while at Oklahoma State University, president Burns Hargis and his wife took on whitewater rafting. Chancellor Susan Koch of the University of Illinois Springfield became a cartoon and went snowboarding with the provost, while president Feridun Hamdullahpur of the University of Waterloo was turned into claymation in the best-in-class “animated president” video.

Animated presidents were just a new twist on the longstanding tradition of amusing videos from animation students, and last year we saw good examples from Sheridan College, Centennial College, and Emily Carr University of Art & Design. The best-in-class “animated greeting” video came from Scotland’s University of Stirling.

This episode contains clips from about 60 of the 500+ higher ed holiday videos that Ken collected last year. You can find our full collection of 2018 videos on Youtube. And we’ve started collecting 2019 higher ed holiday videos too!  If you want to add one, please use this special link.

Ten with Ken will be back in a couple of days with part 2 of our Holiday Special, “Season’s Eatings” – featuring gingerbread, baking, smores, campus feasts and more.  To be sure you don’t miss it, be sure to subscribe.

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