15-second investment reaps rewards for ‘WhyCI?’ contestants

By Marya Jones Barlow
WhyCI prize patrol awards Megan McDonald

Patrick McEvoy knew he wanted to attend CI ever since his sister, a 2013 graduate, came home extoling the virtues of its heavenly campus, friendly faculty and close-knit student body.

But when a CI “Prize Patrol” bearing a giant $1,500 check surprised him last month at a dinner celebrating his graduation from Bakersfield College, McEvoy discovered his most compelling reason yet.

“It confirmed that I’m going in the right direction,” he said. “I’m grateful to CI for helping me arrive at the place I want to be in the future.”

As a winner of the “WhyCI?” social media contest, McEvoy received a scholarship that will help him fulfill his goals of earning a bachelor’s degree in Art and preparing for a career in film and animation. The transfer student from Bakersfield was one of two students to win $1,500 scholarships in CI’s first social media contest.

Darius Riggins presents to winner Patrick McEvoy

WhyCI? challenged current and prospective students to submit 15-second videos on Instagram explaining why they chose CI in their most creative, concise and captivating way. The 10-week contest garnered more than 60 entries, which were posted on Instagram and shared on other social media outlets, including Facebook and Twitter.

Videos were judged by CI’s Marketing Advisory Committee on message content, visual creativity, originality, and the number of “likes” they received on social media by CI’s Marketing Advisory Committee, a 19-member group representing Academic Programs, the Academic Senate, Alumni Affairs, Business & Financial Affairs, Student Affairs, and Information Technology Services. Scholarships were awarded to one enrolled and one newly admitted student. Eight other finalists received $50 gift cards to use at campus dining establishments.

The winning videos will become part of CI’s marketing and recruitment efforts and may be featured on CI’s website, social media, and in other campus and media channels.

“We knew our students were talented, but their entries exceeded our expectations,” said CI Multimedia Coordinator Tom Emens, who helped spearhead the contest. “They provided perspectives that were unique, engaging, inspiring and showed how special CI is in a personal way that will resonate with prospective students.”

CI senior Megan McDonald from Lake View Terrace, Calif., won her scholarship by utilizing talents she developed as an art major specializing in time-based media. Her video is a musical montage of smiling students in locations throughout campus holding up hand-written signs that read: “Community. Opportunity. Inspiration. This is why I love CI.”

McDonald received the news of her victory when CI’s “Prize Patrol” surprised her during graphic design class with flowers, balloons, and an oversized check.

“I didn’t realize it was for me until I saw the cameras pointed at me and heard President Rush calling me to the front of the room,” she said. “It’s an honor to win the scholarship, but it’s also rewarding to know that my video will help promote CI—because CI is where I discovered my passion for filmmaking.”

Tom Emens with Joey Caiazza and Kalie Ihrig

The contest elicited a vast array of responses and creative approaches. Finalist Edward (Joey) Caiazza answered the contest’s challenge by performing an original song in front of some of CI’s most iconic campus spots. Kalie Ihrig played the ukelele, set against a video montage showing scenes of campus life. Students Sebastian Torres, Michael Ishibashi, Jonathan Castillo, Sunshine Bagamspad, Tiffany Scobey, and Melissa de Obaldia showcased artistic talents and marketing savvy in videos featuring the innovative use of animation, graphic design, photography and illustration.

Screenshots of McDonalds' and McEvoys' entries

Emens was so impressed, he offered McDonald an internship in CI’s Communication & Marketing office and hopes to make similar offers to other finalists. He also plans to keep the WhyCI? concept alive with regular Instagram videos spotlighting students from various academic programs until the contest returns in 2015.

“Hosting the contest on a social media channel really helped to build excitement and participation by our students,” Emens said. “We can’t wait to see what they come up with next year and reward their ingenuity.”

See the winning entries, contest details and more at www.csuci.edu/whyci

Return to the Table of Contents
© Spring 2014 / Volume 18 / Number 1
Back to Top ↑