Wednesday, February 16, 2022 | Category: Eduvation Insider
Good morning, and happy humpday!
That means I’ve spent a few days thinking about 2022 marketing efforts, and one of my pleasant surprises was to see a handful of videos released this week on a Valentine’s Day theme. Unlike the Christmas and Holiday vids released under an Omicron cloud, this week’s vids feel genuinely light-hearted and upbeat. (I don’t think I’ve ever noticed Feb 14 videos before.)
I get the distinct sense that PSE marketing teams are starting to emerge from pandemic winter, into some springtime optimism again. (Who knows, maybe we’ll even see some more ambitious April Fool videos 6 weeks from now?)
Certainly I’m feeling it a bit, despite the crazy -20° weather outside. After 2 days on pandemic politics, I thought it might be a nice change of pace for us all to focus on something lighter…
You can check out my Valentine’s Day playlist on YouTube, which has all 11 vids mentioned in this issue. (More vids have been released about Black History Month, the REDress project, Women and Girls in Science, and so many other movements vying for attention in February.) But some early Valentine vids were a refreshing antidote to the winter slush and pandemic muck all around…
Augusta U (GA) released 3 one-min “Sweethearts” vids for Valentine’s Day, in which married couples answer trivia questions à la The Newlywed Game. In “Will you be my lab partner?,” an associate dean and his wife discuss Olive Garden, a love of bread, and “marrying down.” In “Police be mine?” a married captain and detective laugh about the chain of command at home. And in “Love is Cavity-Free,” 2 married dentistry profs discuss cooking and first “dates.” YouTube
Letterpress with Love
Hamilton College (NY) students use hand-set metal type on a vintage letterpress to create Valentine’s Day cards featuring a quote from Oscar Wilde, “Love is a misunderstanding between two fools.” The process demonstrates more loving care than the finished product might suggest! Youtube
What I Love about Duke
Duke U (NC) released this :80-sec montage of students sharing what they love about the institution, from the chapel’s architecture and bells, to the library reading room, campus greenspace, cafeteria ladies, and research opportunities. Although the intercepts are done individually outdoors, with plenty of social distancing, there’s something so, normal, about this vid! YouTube
Clever Hearts at SAIT
Besides the usual Valentine’s Day imagery and well wishes, SAIT tweeted out a link to a collection of clever valentines developed for each school in the institution. The McPhail School of Energy card says “our connection is strong,” the School for Advanced Digital Technology says “you are the css to my html,” the School of Health and Public Safety says “you’re a breath of fresh air,” and so on. (The biggest groaner has got to be Hospitality & Tourism’s “I Loaf You.”) SAIT
Education: A Love Story
Harvard Grad School of Education master’s student Juan Pablo intercepts faculty, staff and students on campus (while wearing heart-shaped, rose-coloured glasses) to ask them “what made you fall in love with education?” Answers range from “optimism” and “possibility” to “I fell in love with education because I hated school.” YouTube
Warm Winter Wishes
This 2-min “Welcome Back” vid from McMaster U has more Christmas imagery than valentines – it was shot in early December, but released just last week to welcome people back to campus after months away, and evoke a comforting feeling of warmth. This Daily News story provides more details on the therapy dogs in the PAWSS project, the library lounge, planetarium, “toques from the heart” project, music ensembles and more featured in the video. Companion posts have been running on Mac’s Instagram feed. Vimeo | McMaster Daily News
Mascots are always a bit less inhibited on social media than other campus figureheads, and on Valentine’s Day they can woo with apparent impunity (and a built-in face mask)…
uIdaho mascot Joe Vandal says he’s “not searching for the other half of his heart – he finds it every time he walks through campus.” In this :46-sec vid, Joe takes selfies, gives high-fives, and makes “hand-hearts” with folks across campus. YouTube
Southern Connecticut State U mascot Otus the Owl is “the ultimate wingman,” dispensing long-stemmed roses around campus in this 1-min vid set to Nat King Cole’s “L-O-V-E.” YouTube
(Speaking of wingmen, restaurant chain Jack Astor’s claims to have created a new holiday, “Palentine’s Day,” to celebrate male friendships on Feb 15. They were apparently inspired by Parks & Recreation’s “Galentine’s Day,” Feb 13.)
OK, perhaps they don’t typically go together in the popular imagination, but plenty of research institutions used Valentine’s Day as a hook for research stories or to promote library collections. Here are just a few samples…
Understanding Love Today
Dalhousie U English prof Heather Jessup discusses some of her favourite examples of love from recent art, TV and literature, that show how “our culture is moving into ideas and conceptions of love that are more inclusive.” Examples include several books by bell hooks, Maggie Nelson, Ta-Nehisi Coates and others, and the Hulu “cringe comedy” PEN15. Dal News
“Our culture is moving into ideas and conceptions of love that are more inclusive. There are different sexual attractions, different ideas, embodiments of gender and also the recognition of non-romantic love as having an extremely important part in our lives.” – Heather Jessup, English prof, Dalhousie U
Narcissists and Pottery Porn
MacEwan U tweeted encouragement to check out some “love-themed research,” from the role of parasites in Australian satin bowerbird romances, or how to spot a narcissist on Tinder based solely on their eyebrows, to insect sex traps, mating calls, and 1500-year-old erotic Peruvian pottery. (The stories are from 2018 and 2021.) MacEwan
“We tend to really like narcissists when we first encounter them. They’re often extroverted and we’re attracted to that confidence… Downstream, narcissists are not good partners — they can be avoidant and uncaring.” – Miranda Giacomin, Psychology prof, MacEwan U
Mending a Broken Heart
Duke U (NC) also released a 1-min vid summarizing the work that Biomedical Engineering prof Nenad Bursac has been doing into gene therapies to improve electrical activity in heart cells – perhaps someday allowing doctors to “mend a broken heart.” (Very clever.) YouTube | Duke News
Blame the Pandemic!
uAberdeen researchers have found that feeling low or sad can make us less likely to remember to complete everyday tasks – so if you forgot to send flowers for Valentine’s Day, “maybe you can blame it on the pandemic!” It’s an upbeat, comic little vid for what is essentially a research story. YouTube
Book Lovers Only
In this TikTok vid from uToronto Mississauga, featuring Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On,” somebody “took a book out on a memorable date around campus… Titanic-style.” The lucky “date” was with a 101-year-old book that “doesn’t get out much any more.” YouTube
It was 4 days early for Valentine’s, but Ed Sheeran’s latest music vid is of course about young love…
The Joker and UNB
Ed Sheeran and Taylor Swift released a 3-min music video last week, “The Joker and the Queen,” that uses a 3-sec 2018 aerial shot of the Fredericton campus (bought from a stock photography site) to set the scene for the love story. (The videographer laments a “glitch” that appears in the final frames.) UNB tweeted about it, inviting Sheeran and Swift “for a campus tour anytime!” and UNB Athletics invited them to sing “O Canada” at a future hockey game. That prompted plenty of local and national media to pick up the story too. Journalists at Exclaim! suggest that UNB might offer them honorary doctorates, to get even more attention. (uMoncton probably still has bragging rights, though, for the media circus around their sexy 2015 recruitment video: see my Ten with Ken discussion of the ad and its impacts on headlines and enrolment.) CBC | Global | Exclaim! | Education News Canada | Telegraph-Journal | World News
As always, thanks for reading!
I’m always on the lookout for innovative ideas about the future of higher ed, so please do drop me a line if you spot something you find thought-provoking, at your institution or anywhere else.
Stay safe and be well!
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