In tandem with University Advancement and External Relations, Marketing and Creative Services staff sent out an email to students asking for testimonies of transformation to include in the university’s annual report.
The annual report, a summary of university finances, is released every December through University Advancement. The theme of transformation for the report came from new Viewpoint editor, Anna Stepanek.
“The theme for the report is ‘Transformed for Transformation’ so we are going to talk about how the university itself is being transformed, all the way through to the faculty and staff, to the students who are just in a very transformational time in higher education in general,” said Michele Corbett, the director of Marketing and Creative Services.
Videographer Drew Renaud and photographer Marcus Emerson shot the project outside chapel Wednesday and on the west end of the track Thursday, along with the rest of the team.
“We prayed together ahead of time before we started,” Corbett said. “We stood in a circle and prayed that the right students and the right stories would be a part of the video and so it was a really special project for us to work on as a team.”
About 60 students testified, following a prompt to state their name, share how they have been transformed, how they will be transformed and concluding with their name again.
Because many students were nervous about being on camera, Corbett prepped each student, helping them to figure out what they wanted to say.
“I’d look over and someone would be telling [Stepanek] a four minute story of transformation,” Corbett said. “We weren’t able to get the full story on video but I think what was neat for me was a lot of the stories students have are so complex and there’s so many inputs going into that experience. For the students to narrow it down to a few sentences was challenging. It really is a robust experience that they’re having… it was fun to watch their thought process.”
Corbett hopes that students’ transformation stories will show the donors who watch it that they are in part responsible for what happens on campus.
“It is a sacred work for me to be a part of telling the story of the university because when you put things in video or you put things in writing, that … creates reality in a way,” Corbett said. “So I take that role, as does everyone in our office, really seriously. For me, it was a real honor to work with the students in pulling out intimate moments of transformation in their lives and having the opportunity to tell such a powerful story. I think it’ll be the building on top of each other when we see the stories back to back [in the video] that’ll be really cool.”