Wake Forest University Uses the Power of Video Storytelling

Wake Forest University Renovation

Renovations are exciting – just ask Wake Forest University. Students love the opportunity to have expanded space, upgraded facilities and new programing. However, renovations also take time. In most cases a year or more. Throughout the extensive construction process, it can be difficult to garner and maintain excitement for the new facility.

In order to combat this, Max Floyd, the director of recreation at Wake Forest University had a unique idea. The university is undergoing a three-phase recreation renovation project, and to keep students, stakeholders, alumni, parents and university partners enthusiastic and informed about the project, Floyd decided to make a video.

As he explained, you never get a second chance to make a first impression; therefore they pulled out all the stops in order to create a high-quality video. “You can do it on your iPhone and get the reaction that anyone could do this,” added Floyd. “Or you can start months in advance, find the leaders on campus, the media gurus and begin to build your team. We needed to appeal to a vast array of audiences, it needed to have a ‘wow’ factor, we wanted to cover everything and we wanted to give students a preview of what is coming.”

Creating such a high-quality video took a significant investment of time and resources. In case you are considering doing something similar, Floyd highlighted a few of the key steps throughout the process.

Don’t do it alone

“You need to assemble a team and that team needs to represent the audience who you are trying to target. There needs to be a videographer, a scriptwriter, a drone driver to get footage, editors, etc. So you need to put your team in place. The recruiting started months ago by looking for people on campus with the proper skill sets. We did some smaller projects with them so we could look at their competency level.”

Build a budget

“You have to map out a business plan. What are your personnel resources? What are the financial resources that are required?

Get permission

“We got approval from various sectors on campus to make sure the project was viable. We were able to secure all the proper equipment like the cameras, the drones and microphones. Then we got permission to fly the drones at certain times.”

Ensure safety

“The biggest challenge for us was access to the construction site by those that were not the construction workers. We were walking in construction zones and on scaffoldings. The construction team reminded me of the importance of safety. We needed to go the extra mile for safety measures like the proper eye wear and head wear.”

Have a vision

“What is your vision? Why do you want to do this? Can you legitimize the reason why you want to do this? There has to be a strong answer to the why and that will help you when you propose the budget plan to the upper administration.”

Take charge

“Are you willing to commit to taking the time to get all of that together? Then follow up and lead the charge. Students need to have someone that is a flag barer, keeping them on track because they can get distracted.”

Spread the word

“Every campus has the capabilities to do something like this. Sometimes people just need a little bit of a nudge or a challenge. They can see that we are doing this, investing our time and resources to something like this and it might inspire them to do something similar. Recreation is an interesting industry. We share information. We share ideas. Why sit on your ideas, when you can share them? I feel like my colleagues need to know about this so they can do the same thing.”


Emily Harbourne was a previous editor for Campus Rec Magazine.

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