Thursday, April 20, 2006

I just started breathing again. I'd almost forgotten how to do it.

School is shaping up nicely after a month of unprecedented stress.

Last week was my big capstone presentation to Ford and Ogilvy Detroit. My group and I spent countless late nights writing, designing, editing, rehearsing, and memorizing for the big unveiling. While we delivered what I felt was a very polished and compelling presentation, we received a lukewarm response from the judges. After finding out we had not won the competition (or even placed), it took many days to recover emotionally. Seriously. We had put so much heart and sweat into our book and presentation. It's hard to feel like a star and be looped into the losers bracket. Oh well. It's Ford's loss for sure. Our campaign was a winner.

As if one formal presentation wasn't enough, I got to give another one that same week. I worked on a re-branding campaign for The Daily Universe—BYU's student paper. DU's problem in a nutshell is that it is heavily criticized by a student body that is becoming increasingly apathetic. (A strange phenomenon.) The DU wanted to do something that would boost student interest and credibility while at the same time create a brand they could relate to.

Now, at any other school seems like it would be an easy task; at a private Christian institution this is not the case. The social climate in Provo right now seems to be one of dissension, controversy, and exposed censorship. At the same time, the "too cool for Provo" mentality has quickly become the dominant attitude. Students are trained to hate living here. The rise of the iPod and the cell phone has created campus that is less and less friendly. Many feel alienated where they once felt so welcome.

So for The Daily Universe this means that anything it publishes automatically gets thrown into the whole "this sucks" category. It's the Daily Universe; it's uncool. It's censored. It's stupid.

So what's a paper to do?

The answer we came up with was to put it in the hands of the students. We can criticize Provo, BYU, and The Daily Universe all we want, but we must all remember that there was a reason we came here, and it was to study our chosen disciplines. (Not just to get married.) So why not celebrate what brought us here to Happy Valley?

Our idea is to create a weekly color section composed entirely of student submissions. It's called ROAR!, and based on the overwhelmingly positive response at the presentation last week, I can fairly confidently announce that it is coming to BYU this Fall. After the idea was approved, my job was to make the prototype. I collected local talent in the form of poetry, art, photography, math, design, literature, web, cooking, advertising, etc. The format is extremely loose. Like a blog in hard copy. A campaign will be launched come August calling for student submissions. It's going to be awesome.

My hope is that ROAR! gets students excited, brings them together, and helps them feel better about their community.

In other news, Ed McBand finally finished recording our debut album. We had our little reunion/farewell/CD release party at Borders last weekend. Our new CD, "Hang Out With The Sun" is available for $5.


Master Fob said...

I want to buy one. But you know that.

Very apt assessment of BYU student culture, I think. I hope ROAR is successful.

Becca said...

nine days!!!!!

Derek said...

ROAR looks sweet. You, my friend, have a gift.