Category Archives: Admissions

Top University Videos of 2011

One of the most powerful forms of media is video. I’ve heard it called the “You’ve got to see this” factor, that transcends language. If a video is fun, funny, unique or moving, people will watch it, share it, comment on it — and it will help get your message across in a powerful way.

As a professional in higher education, I particularly like to see what other universities are doing when it comes to video. So following, in no particular rank or order, are 6 of the best university videos that I found from 2011.

  1. San Diego State University – I’ll start with our own. We’ve gone away from the typical institutional television spot showing faculty members in labs coats and tried to do something a little more fun, that shows both the passion of our alumni, and the reach we have into the community. Our institutional spot focused on a chant that the student section does before every home basketball game – “I Believe.” The commercial features several prominent alumni, including the founder of the Rubio’s Fresh Mexican food chain, Ralph Rubio, and the mayor of San Diego, Jerry Sanders. But the best part is what we did after the commercial debuted. We were able to get Mayor Sanders to join the student section before a game to lead them in the chant. And we captured it on a smart phone (Not all videos need to be professionally produced to have impact). But the video was a hit and shows the excitement and atmosphere at our games.

  2. Boston UniversityBoston Red Sox, Behind the Lens.  We all like to share stories about our successful alumni.  BU does a great job on this feature, shadowing this sports photographer as he shares his experiences taking pictures at historic Fenway Park in Boston. The production value of the video is outstanding, very creative, weaving in still photography, making it look as though it’s moving. And the story is compelling, like something you might see on a network sports show.
  3. University of Toledo#whyUToledo. This is a great example of an integrated approach to new media. It started as a Twitter campaign, asking people why they chose UT. Then they took the images of the actual Tweets and made a video out of it, with voice overs of (supposedly) the students reading their Tweets. Really fun, forward thinking, great way to connect with the generation that is currently looking to go to college.
  4. McMaster UniversityThis Month with the President. While this is a very simple concept, execution is not always as easy. McMaster sits down, in a different location, each month with the president of their university and has him discuss a particular topic. It’s not scripted, there’s no teleprompter. It’s just him sharing his thoughts. It’s a great way to personalize someone who, often times, people on campus don’t get to interact with.
  5. University of OregonCall me a Duck. I’m a sucker for Hip Hop songs being used in non-traditional places. And this one is outstanding. It’s actually sung by an a Capella group from UO that went on a national television singing competition show. It’s an amazingly well produced music video that shows school pride, passion and creativity.
  6. Bowling Green UniversityStroh Center Rap. One of the challenges in the Advancement and Development world is educating people – particularly students – about the importance of philanthropy to a university. The typical introduction of a newly built and/or named building is a press release and a ribbon cutting ceremony with a photo opp. The opening of Bowling Green’s new basketball arena, The Stroh Center, was anything but typical, thanks to this video. The rap talks about the people who made the building possible, including how much money they gave. — “He will melt your face with his philanthropy” — And the video features those donors. The production value of the video is excellent. But for my money, getting the donors to participate in the video is well worth the watch.

What great university videos did you produce or see this past year?


Filed under Admissions, Alumni, Athletics, New Media, Prospective Students, Students, University News

10 Things I’m Thankful for As SDSU’s Chief Communications Officer

As the SDSU community closes out the year, I’d like to reflect on some of the things I’m most thankful for.  I know – it seems like we are inundated with lists this time of year – but my team tells me lists get lots of hits, so here goes…Student Services

10. Stephen Weber – for 15 years, President Weber was the identity of our campus – and our most effective storyteller.  He transformed SDSU and left us with incredible momentum.

9. Elliot Hirshman – SDSU could not have found a better president.  He has brought new energy, passion, humor and a laser focus on student success.

8. Steve Fisher, Beth Burns, Rocky Long, Tony Gwynn and all SDSU’s outstanding coaches – SDSU would be a great university without a great Athletics program but now we’re on the verge of having both.  Beyond building successful programs, these incredible people work daily to shape outstanding citizens.

7. 69,000+ applicants – I guess we’re doing something right!  Seriously, California has many talented young people filled of hope and enthusiasm for the future – let’s not let them down by closing the door on their dreams of a university education!

6. SDSU’s incredible faculty – they continue to bring accolades for their outstanding work and $150 million in research that has elevated SDSU to be among the top public research universities in the U.S.  On the downside, I have to go to work knowing I’ll never be the smartest person in the room!

5. Our students – they are why we are here!  A lot has been written about the current generation’s short-comings – don’t believe it.  From what I’ve seen, our future is in good hands. I’m especially impressed by the accomplishments of our student leaders in the areas of sustainability and social justice.

4. SDSU’s donors who have enriched SDSU with $280 million to The Campaign for SDSU. SDSU would be a far different place with their investments in our talented people, nationally ranked programs and beautiful facilities.  Thank you 280 million times!

3. Our hard-working staff – they look after our students, fix our computers, protect the campus and keep it looking amazing.  While the jobs vary, they share a belief in the power of a university to change lives.

2. My team – through their efforts, the MarComm team is helping transform the image of 114-year old university and engaging more people in powerful new ways.

1. My family – for putting up with the 3 a.m. phone calls (which are never good) and generally supporting me through all the adventures that come with the job.  It helps that my wife Lucita is an Aztec alumna!

I’m tempted to add that I’m thankful for the delicious cookies baked by Aztec Shops – which have got me through many long meetings.  Instead, I’ll close by thanking our troops for keeping our country safe and allowing us all to live our lives in freedom.  Peace to all!

Jack Beresford is Chief Communications Officer at San Diego State University

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Right now hundreds of thousands of high school seniors and junior college transfer students are filling out applications to go to a university somewhere. Each year San Diego State University is among the nation’s leaders in the number of applications it receives. Not all that are admitted end up coming to SDSU. But of those that do become Aztecs, most become passionate Aztecs for Life.

We reached out on Twitter and asked our followers why they chose SDSU. While many included the obvious – sunshine – you can see the passion our students and alumni have for SDSU. Here are some of their responses:

@homebrewdoc: 140 characters aren’t enough! RT @SDSU_NewsTeam: Aztecs: Why did you go to college at San Diego State? #whySDSU

@amazingjen: @SDSU_NewsTeam The Compact For Success program would take me on yearly visits to campus so it always felt like home to me! #whySDSU

@czarcruise: Because of the tradition, location, and the fact my entire immediate family has gone there. 3 Generations of AZTEC PRIDE #WhySDSU #GoAztecs

@stef_funny: #WhySDSU because that means I get to be an AZTEC for life! 🙂 @SDSU_NewsTeam

@WRob73: @SDSU_NewsTeam #WhySDSU bc I love the city..loved the team and happy I chose to go there…best 4.5 years of my life 🙂

@The__Show: #WhySDSU : More combined wins in football and hoops than any other school in the country. But even besides the wins, we have sooo much fun.


How about you? #WhySDSU?

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Scholarships Do Exist!

Samantha Afetian is the media relations intern for the SDSU’s Marketing and Communications Department.

Last Friday was an ordinary, groggy Friday morning. I hauled myself to class while the majority of my fellow comrades were probably still sleeping cozy in their beds, lucky enough to not have a Friday morning class.

Having arrived early to my journalism lab, I sat down at a computer and opened my email. Still blurry eyed from sleep and cognitively incoherent, I was shocked to read “Congratulations on being selected to receive the SDSU Retirement Association Scholarship for 2011-12!” I was instantly awakened from my morning stupor and absolutely elated! I got a scholarship? No way.

Every little bit helps
Back in December, I began looking for scholarships for a few reasons, some may resonate with you:

  1. As soon as I graduate I’m in debt. Scholarships sounded like an easy way to subsidize my education without having to worry about interest payments. It’s like free money.
  2. Scholarships would allow me to continue with my extracurricular activities, such as my professional certificate program through the College of Extended Studies.
  3. I am studying abroad this Fall semester, so I figured scholarships could maybe help me with that.

Now obviously one or even two scholarship awards wouldn’t be able to cover all of the extra costs of my education, but they most certainly help. That is why I applied for as many scholarships as I possibly could.

The scholarship journey
I honestly didn’t think that I was “scholarship” material. I don’t have a significant financial need (though it’s significant to me), I’m not in any leadership roles, and I don’t log 100 hours of community service a semester. Obviously I was skeptical but I thought that I would give it a try regardless.

The SDSU Retirement Associate Scholarship is a generous scholarship to a student who is related to a full-time or previously full-time faculty member at the university. I had recently discovered that my great-great uncle, Lester Tenney, was an accounting and finance professor here at SDSU after World War II, so I decided to apply on a whim. I wrote the essay, crossed my fingers and sent it in.

About a month later I made the first round of cuts and was invited to a scholarship interview. I had done a little bit of research on the association and prepared a portfolio of writing samples just to supplement the interview, but I was nervous. During the interview I did my best to highlight my attributes as a student, but ultimately I chose to stress the fact that I genuinely love SDSU and as media relations intern I try my best to put out stories that will make others want to be a part of the university, too.

I honestly thought that I wasn’t going to be chosen.

But, lo-and-behold, they decided to award me a $2,500 scholarship, and I could not be more thrilled! Not only will the award help me accomplish my academic goals, but it also is a great honor in that I have been chosen for my merits to represent SDSU as an award recipient.

Final words
Students: When it comes to scholarships, you never know until you try.

Donors: If you’re thinking about sponsoring a scholarship, please do it! You have the power to help students pursue their passions, dreams and aspirations.

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The Madness of March at SDSU

Jordan Bowditch is a student assistant in SDSU’s Marketing and Communications Department.

Hi fellow Aztec aficionados…

The past few weeks I’ve been running around campus attending as many of the SDSU Month activities as I possibly can. Last week I went to hell and back with the SDSU Theatre Dept. in the classic Greek myth, Eurydice. The play, reimagined by Tony Award-nominated playwright Sarah Ruhl, follows two star-crossed lovers who become separated indefinitely on their wedding day. Eurydice is lured into danger by a strange man and falls into the River of Forgetfulness, eventually ending up in Hades. It was a well-performed show with an unexpected ending that I definitely recommend checking out.

Last Saturday I attended SDSU’s annual Open House event, Explore SDSU, where thousands of prospective,

Explore SDSU

Explore SDSU

admitted and current students, as well as alumni and community members gathered to partake in the numerous activities taking place on campus. In addition to more than 100 student organizations showcased, live entertainment was provided at The Family Village, where kids and adults could get their faces painted, have personal hats made by the Rad Hatter, and wear themselves out in the bounce house while listening to tunes from the “kid-folk” group Hullabaloo.

And of course there’s the men’s basketball team who is now in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament, an unprecedented success for the Aztecs. I had the opportunity to play with DJ Gay at the ARC last summer, and I have a supreme appreciation for this guy’s skills. I look forward to witnessing our Aztecs continue their streak in Anaheim this Thursday against UConn as I’m sure you all do.

In addition to the various events, I’ve been taking advantage of the SDSU Month promotions offered by our benefit partners. I’ve been hitting up Sail Ho Golf Club on the reg, but unfortunately, I am still subpar at best. Regardless, basking in the warm San Diego sun with a friend for half price hasn’t been a bad gig. I’ve also seen more movies in the past month than I have in years thanks to Reading Cinemas. By just mentioning SDSU month you get a free 85 oz. popcorn. 85 OUNCES!

There is one last matter to discuss regarding a certain phenomenon that has swept through the San Diego community. I have witnessed and been a part of this marvel for five years now, but have never experienced it to this magnitude. Yes – you guessed right. I am referring to the real reason for the season – Mustache March.

Mustache MarchYou’ve undoubtedly seen swarms of individuals representing this proud faction as the phenomenon seems to have been taken to a whole new level likely linked to the record performance of our men’s basketball team. I asked a fellow member of this esteemed group how he had grown such an impressive stache, to which he responded, “Well, to be honest I may have jumped the gun a little and started a few days early…I mean, would you run a marathon without stretching first?”

Even the new protein shake stand, Shakesmart, located in front of the Aztec Recreation Center, is getting in on the action. They’re giving 10% off shakes when you present your mustache! My close personal friend Kevin Gelfand, cofounder of Shakesmart, commented on the trend saying, “We kept seeing people with mustaches around campus, so we decided to jump on board and encourage them to try our shakes by giving them a little extra incentive.”

With that I will leave you for now. Let’s finish the month strong, and you stay classy SDSU!

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SDSU Month has arrived…

SDSU Month is here!

As a member of the Aztec community, I’m thrilled to inform you that SDSU’s ninth annual SDSU Month has officially begun.  The month of March notoriously stirs up all kinds of Aztec pride as SDSU hosts various events throughout the month allowing  students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members the opportunity to celebrate what it means to be an “Aztec for Life.”

Allow me to introduce myself…

My name is Jordan Bowditch, and I’m a super senior at SDSU (that’s right-couldn’t get enough). I’m majoring in Business Marketing with a specialization in Integrated Marketing Communications, and I work in the university Marketing and Communications department on campus. During my time at SDSU I’ve had the privilege of partaking in a wide array of activities, including many of those that will take place this month. My affinity for SDSU has reached an all-time high and as I wrap-up my last semester as a student, I’m excited to share my SDSU Month experiences with you.

Explore SDSU is March 19

To kick off SDSU Month, hundreds of Aztec enthusiasts suited up in their red and black attire last Friday at a BYU pre-game celebration at Horton Square by NBC San Diego studios. I was at the event and can say the energy was truly contagious.

I will personally be attending several events this month and reporting back to you, including:

Also taking place during SDSU Month is the Aztec for Life Photo Contest where you can enter to win an iPad.

In addition to the various events taking place, we encourage you to take advantage of the special promotions provided by our SDSU Month Benefit Partners. I’m personally headed to Sail Ho Golf Club this week to play a two-for one round with a friend. For a full list of discounts offered for SDSU Month, check out

Put your game face on and don’t miss out on this opportunity to experience SDSU Month!

Follow SDSU Month on Twitter, and become a Fan on Facebook!

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Student Perspective: One Last Blog …

Elif is a fourth-year Accounting major at SDSU. She and three others write their own blogs chronicling the life of an SDSU student. Following is Elif’s latest entry.

Elif is a fourth year accounting major

Elif is a fourth year accounting major

There is a week left in school and I know there is the urge to either procrastinate or to study your butts off. If you are reading this, skim through it and decide to get back to the books. Yes, break is about a week away and you can not wait to sleep in, have mom make a home cooked meal, and horseplay because guess what there is a month break before school starts again. Since there is a week left in school, its time to buckle down.

Unfortunately, the library is packed, the Internet is slow, and its difficult to juggle everything. Now you’re asking yourself, what do I do?

1. Find a location where you will not get distracted. I can never study at SDSU because the internet is very slow and does not fulfill my needs. This is a good thing and bad thing because 1) I will not surf the net 2) I can focus on the task at hand. However, if you have an assignment where you need the internet, find a location like the Living Room or Starbucks where there is enough internet to boost your connection.  If I am studying at school, I like to study in the basement because I can eat and not a lot of people study in the Compact Shelving Area.

2) Do Not Stress. Do not stress because you will not remember information. It happens to me all the time.

3) Reward yourself once in a while either to some Sushi or an arcade game. Then Get back to Studying.

4) Prioritize. Unfortunately, I hate choosing between fun and schoolwork. I really want to go to the Undie run on Thursday, but I know I should be studying for my classes. If you choose school, you will get more done. I know there are benefits to hanging out with friends, but your friends will understand.

Good luck with Finals. I hope you find a place to study and get those As you need/want. Have a wonderful Winter Break!

My Goals for Next Semester’s Blog

1. Join the Ballroom and Latin Dance Club and meet Brittany, another Blogger.

2. Finding Ways to Save Money.

3. Undie Run Spring 2011.

4. Networking with other Alpha Phi Omega Brothers in Southern California

5. Try to Zumba classes offered at the Arc.

6. Meeting the other bloggers, Alejandra and Amanda.

7. Being more active in Student Accounting Society and utilizing their resources to become a better Accounting Student.

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