POUGHKEEPSIE, NY — If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video is worth a thousand pictures.
That’s the premise behind Vassar College’s new enhanced channel on YouTube, the leading online video community that allows people to discover, watch, and share original videos. Direct your browser to www.YouTube.com/vassar, and click on a video to catch a glimpse of student life at Vassar, one of the nation’s premier liberal arts colleges. The videos posted on the channel range from students giving “tours” of their dorm rooms, to performances by campus comedy troupes, to a late night session at the Miscellany News student newspaper.
Vassar is among a small but growing number of colleges and universities working in cooperation with YouTube to create enhanced channels. UC Berkeley, MIT, Vanderbilt, and USC also have channels. UC Berkeley, which has been on YouTube for almost two years, has 10,000 subscribers and has had over a million and a half channel views. Vassar, however, is the only institution thus far to focus on YouTube’s potential to communicate to prospective students about student life.
The channel was launched simultaneously with Vassar’s new admissions website, admissions.vassar.edu, which has a direct connection to Vassar’s YouTube channel on its homepage. According to Susan DeKrey, vice president for college relations at Vassar, the initial impetus for the channel was to give prospective students a sense of what life is like on the Vassar campus.
“When we do focus groups with prospective students, we hear again and again that what they really want to know is what Vassar students are like and whether they’ll fit in on campus,” said DeKrey. “We have several publications that give us the opportunity to tell the stories of current students who are doing interesting things, but video is much more direct.” The student life videos were unscripted and were filmed and edited by videographer Yang Miller (www.yangmiller.com).
The channel also includes a play list for the college’s alumnae/i association, AAVC, and a play list for lectures and events. Over time, the college intends to add more lectures featuring notable faculty and events such as concerts by the Vassar College Orchestra and other student performing groups.