Not your first choice

“Hastily Made CWRU Tourism Video” takes a satiric look at university

Hard-working students, diversity and modern buildings—universities emphasize these features in their promotional materials. But official videos don’t usually compare university centers to airports and describe a student’s experience as: “This kid is a BME/pre-med. He hasn’t slept in 14 months.”

The “Hastily Made CWRU Tourism Video,” released recently by The Athenian, is humorously (and unflatteringly) honest. The Athenian is a University Media Board (UMB) organization that produces the campus humor magazine, as well as “The Athenian Update.” For the tourism video, they collaborated with UMB organization Rough Rider Productions, and it currently has over 3,500 views on Youtube.

The inspiration for the video comes from the “Hastily Made Cleveland Tourism Video.” The original video depicts rundown Cleveland scenes with shaky video, upbeat background music and a satirical voiceover. The Athenian’s video incorporates all of these aspects, but focuses on Case Western Reserve University.

Mahima Devarajan, managing editor of The Athenian, said  the video was “spurred from the prospective students’ visits to CWRU.”

“Given the timing, the writers all felt this had the potential to be a funny idea,” Devarajan said. But prospective students “were not the intended audience for the video, as the jokes would probably make more sense to an enrolled student or alumnus,” she said.

Despite the title, the process of making the video was anything but hasty. “With ‘The Athenian Update’ actors, we broke up into groups and got various shots we needed around campus,” said Devarajan. “Given the amount of time that getting all the shots took, we could pretty safely say that the original could not have been that hastily made.”

First-year student Jahlyn Reyes-McKinley was an actor, cameraman, producer and editor for the video. She said the filming took less than two hours, and the project in total took “less than two days, if you take out all of the gaps in the week” they didn’t work on it.

Reyes-McKinley didn’t have a single favorite moment from the video. “The process of making it with everyone was really fun and hilarious to me, so when I watch it, I get a kick out of the little things, like the music in the background, the harmonies, the context of how we got certain shots, and blips in my editing,” she said.

One of the most popular jokes was that CWRU is “Not Your First Choice,” as pictures of Stanford, MIT and Harvard flash quickly across the screen. “Case wasn’t my first choice either,” said first-year student Marcell Howard. “10/10 would study here again though.”

While this video may seem like just another funny spoof, there are central thoughts to it that much of the student body can agree with. This combined with the hard work put into the project really paid off for “The Athenian,” as the video was more popular than expected. Not taking yourself too seriously is important, so hopefully we will see more comedy shorts (besides “The Athenian Update”) from The Athenian in the future.