Howard University captures the meaning of the holiday with a video featuring a fabulous rendition of “Children, Go Where I Send Thee,” while UMBC sends greetings from Mama’s Boys and their upbeat version of “Let It Snow.” American University’s holiday video documents the excitement of a campus-wide card-signing event, and Shenandoah University offers wintery campus scenes set to the tune of “Silver Bells.”
In honor of the season, the University of Maryland sends viewers on a tour of the College Park campus as “Jingle Bell Rock” plays in the background, and Frostburg State University provides an insider’s view of the annual Storybook Holiday featuring undergraduate elves wandering the through Frostburg’s winter wonderland.
Colleges are making creative use of YouTube and other internet resources for extending warm holiday greetings again this year. Some will give you an opportunity to see what the campus looks like during winter months, and others will introduce you to key administrative staff who just happen to play starring roles in the productions.
And the videos can be anything from earnest messages read by college presidents seated before brilliantly burning yule logs to humorous collages of campus and student life.
After a thorough search through the internet and a little help from a few admissions offices, here are my candidates for the best of the 2011 holiday videos:
- Arizona State University. Students pass on a very special gift found under a beautifully decorated tree. It’s a wonder those cookies don’t get broken!
- Carnegie Mellon University. Scotty and friends bring “Plaid Greetings” to CMU campuses from Pittsburgh to Qatar to Silicon Valley. Gotta love the plaid.
- Eckerd College. An animated debate between President Eastman and Dean of Admission John Sullivan reminds viewers that, “Liberal arts sounds…so well, liberal.” Bipartisan arts?
- Elon Univesity. Members of the Elon community offer holiday messages including one that vaguely translates into a very merry ChristmasHannukaKwanza.
- Flagler College. Everyone sings along to an upbeat version of “All I want for Christmas.”
- Harvard University. The video has a few bumps and rough spots as well as a little commentary from the videographer, but if you’re a fan of “Little Drummer Boy,” you will LOVE this a cappella version from Harvard’s Kuumba Singers.
- Knox College. This is absolutely one of the best holiday videos of the year. Sam Brownson ’12 wrote and performed “On the Steps of Old Main”—a tribute to Knox College that is sure to bring tears to the eyes of Knox grads or anyone who has truly loved their college experience. Don't miss this one!
- Lawrence University. To help get you in the mood for the holidays, members of Contala and the Lawrence Concert Choir gather for “The Christmas Song.” Be sure to check out some of those holiday sweaters!
- Lehigh University. "T’was a great year at Lehigh, and there’s lots to report."
- Macalester College. A real life Dickens scholar, Macalester President Brian Rosenberg experiences his own “Scrooge” moment or series of moments. “How now a legion of goblins all of my own 'admission.'” Humbug! The Ghost of College Yet to Come is wonderful and transformative! Another “don’t miss” video.
- Marquette University. The student a cappella group, Gold ‘N Blues sings “O Holy Night.”
- Ohio Wesleyan University. Viewers are treated to snowy campus scenes backed by the “Carol of the Bells” performed by the Ohio Wesleyan Brass ensemble.
- Rhodes College. Short and very sweet. “It’s the truth that sets us free.”
- Simpson College. One hundred students gather in a mall on a cold, gray December day in Iowa and surprise shoppers with the “Hallelujah Chorus.”
- Towson University. “T’was the Night Before Finals” is about as clever as they get if you can imagine calling 8 flying tigers by name: “Now Study, now Read, now Think & Discern. On Ponder, on Cram, on Review and now Learn.”
- University of Minnesota. The Carlson School of Business receives a surprise visit from a lone saxophonist who is soon joined by nearly 300 of his friends from the School of Music in a flash mob version of “Deck the Halls.”
- University of Oregon. And why a duck?
- West Virginia University. During the holidays a kind of Mountaineer magic spreads across the landscape of the WVU campus.
- Wittenberg University. This truly outstanding black and white video was filmed on an iPhone4S and edited on an iPad2 with iMovie and Silent Film Director. Short on community service hours, Erzy has to “Tiger Up” for the holidays and present gifts to each of the conference rivals—except Wooster. Luckily Erzy’s mentor steps in to put things right. Don’t miss this one!
- Wofford College. An original holiday greeting is performed by talented Wofford students. It’s a catchy little song.
Thank you to the many colleges that forwarded me copies of their videos. I enjoyed each and every one!
Best wishes to all for the Happiest of Holidays!