by Melanie Bettinelli on December 13, 2006
My sister sent me the link to this awesome video about UD. It says exactly what I would want to say to any high school student considering UD (except it does it better). It brought tears to my eyes. It captures perfectly what UD is to those of us who love her.
Even if you have no interest in the University, you should watch this video.
This is unlike any recruitment video I’ve ever seen. It was not done by professionals; but by two students (Not that you could tell, it’s beautiful, well shot, well edited, highly polished.) It’s not an outsider’s view; but an insider’s. And that makes all the difference. It’s really a love letter to the school. Dom said watching it made him want to go to UD. It made both of us want to go back to school once again.
Here’s what the two filmmakers had to say about their project:
Our video tells a story, but there is also a story behind our video. It began a few months ago, when we sat down to watch UD’s old promo video; sadly, between the cheesy synthesizers, the poofy hair, and the big earrings, we were humored rather than impressed. Like most other promo videos, it was put together by professionals who had no idea what the university was all about.
So, between writing our senior theses, finishing our comprehensive exams, and going to end-of-the-year parties, we made the decision to create our own UD video. We had no time, no money, no equipment, and absolutely no experience. Undaunted, we borrowed a camera from our classmate, two microphones from our professor, and countless hours from our sleep schedules, and we got to work.
Armed with a tripod and our liberal arts education, we spent two weeks hurriedly interviewing our classmates and professors. By graduation, we had taken our footage and taught ourselves how to use a free trial version of a professional editing program. As the summer began, one of us (John) had to take up his job in Rome, so the other (Tommy) began to edit the movie, finding spare hours between a full time teaching job and an introductory Greek class. Exactly as Tommy was leaving to England for a summer program, our hard drive crashed. We had to ship a new one to Atlanta, where Tommy picked it up during a layover on the way to the British Isles. He carried it in his backpack, protecting it from the rain as he went camping in Ireland, Scotland, and England. The two of us met again in a priest’s house in southern England to do more editing, and then Tommy continued the work in Austria (between working two jobs for his aunt outside Salzburg).
We met again in Rome, but one of our suitcases-the one with the necessary power cords for the hard drive-was stolen in the train station. Unperturbed, we ordered a new one and spent our time filming UD’s Rome Campus. When Tommy had to return to Oxford to begin his graduate studies, John found time between his job and Italian lessons to make the final changes.
Along the way, another hard drive crashed, our software died, and our computer failed. But, through determination and grace, the video was finished. We hope you will enjoy this genuine voice of UD students and faculty—we had no budget and no script.
Clearly, we absolutely love UD. We turned down top universities (Boston College, Notre Dame, Harvard) in order to come here, and we have never regretted these decisions. UD’s Core Curriculum, Rome Program, Student Body, and open-minded Catholicity certainly put her on the top. We will be forever grateful for the rich academic and social growth UD has afforded us, for the amazing discussions and lifelong friendships. This short video is our best attempt to pay UD back. We hope you will see past any of our amateurs’ errors to enjoy the true and enthusiastic story that is now laid before you. Even if you have no interest in UD, this video could well help you decide on the sorts of qualities you are looking for in a university.
Their story made me laugh. It’s such a typical UD story. They sound like such typical UDers. I’ve never met them nor any of the students featured in a film. But I know if I sat down in a room with any of them, we’d have a great conversation. They’re family. We have a bond that unites us, a common experience and a common love.
Thank you, thank you, thank you, John and Tommy.
by Melanie Bettinelli on August 09, 2006
I’ve decided as part of my continuing series on UD to highlight the online presence of some of my fellow alumni so you can get a flavor of what UD students do after they go out into the world.
A while back I stumbled across the name of a fellow UD alumn, Spencer Lewerenz, associated with The Act One Program. Wow, that’s cool, I thought. Last I’d heard, Spencer had headed to DC after graduation to work on a career in journalism. Now he was on the other coast working with a nonprofit organization that trains people of faith for careers in mainstream film & TV.
Today The Weight of Glory blog informs me of an interview with Spencer on the Catholic radio program, Lino at Large. He’s promoting the new book he’s edited and talking about the role of Catholics in the media. Go check it out.
Also, while I’m on the subject, I’d like to point to Aquinas and More Catholic Bookstore, started by UD alumnus Ian Rutherford, who graduated the same year I did. Go here for a picture of Ian and his beautiful family.
One criticism I’ve often heard of a liberal arts education is that it doesn’t prepare you for a career. In a limited sense, that is true. A liberal education is not vocational education. But in a larger sense, a liberal education prepares you for much more than a career, it prepares you for life. In today’s world careers come and go, few people will end up in the job they prepared for in college. A liberal arts education will prepare you to think, to work hard, to be flexible and to be adaptable to many different tasks in life, not just one career field.
by Melanie Bettinelli on July 28, 2006
Back in May I received a special request from a reader:
Hello! As a highschool student who IS looking for a real liberal arts education, and who is seriously considering U of Dallas, I would love to read a post in which you desribe and evaluate your overall experience of UD. Thanks so much for your consideration! God bless. -Meg-
I began a reply right away; but I got sidetracked and never posted a response for two reasons: First, I found it hard to capture four years of experience in a concise and useful way, it was too big a project to tackle and my brain was pretty much mush. Second, because a week later I gave birth to Isabella and everything went on the back burner for a while.
Now Meg has prodded me once again and I’ve got a new plan to tackle this beast. Rather than try to get it all down in one post, I’m going to begin a series of posts about UD.
I’m hoping that Meg might jump in and ask some more specific questions as I write, help me get a feel of what topics she’s interested in hearing about. I’m also hoping that some of my readers who are UD grads will jump in and help me out.
Where to start… perhaps I’ll begin with why I decided to go to UD in the first place when I, like Meg, was a high school student looking at colleges. Then I’ll try to highlight some of my most memorable and typical UD experiences. Then, why I have encouraged my sister to go and why I hope UD will still be around so I can send my kids there. Sounds like a short novel, quite frankly. Brevity has never been my forte. But it’s my blog and I’ll ramble if I want to. I’m going to try to tackle this in a post a week or so. If I let it go too long between posts, I’m hoping Meg will gently nudge me with another reminder.
Again, I encourage my many readers who are either UD alumni or current students to share their own replies in the comments section. I graduated in 1996… 10 years ago! I can’t believe it’s been ten years! It would be nice to have people whose experiences are more recent represented… (Theresa, hint, hint…)
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