Campus Life

Open Mike - May 2012, Taking advantage of new channels

There are many ways to tell the University of Lethbridge story and to get that message beyond our borders – the last week being a perfect example.

A YouTube video produced by new media student Matthew Lunde has gone viral, giving the University new media program unprecedented exposure in markets it likely never would have entered through traditional means. The video (Stormtrooper Shuffle) is a parody of Star Wars' evil Stormtroopers dancing to the popular LMFAO hit Party Rock Anthem.

Lunde is one of the program's top students and among the latest to earn an internship with the Canadian Space Agency. The Stormtrooper Shuffle was not a class-related project, nor is it intended as an endorsement of the U of L, but the fact that it has racked up more than 100,000 views means it is reaching people and garnering the University and the new media program specifically, a lot of attention.

Mike Mahon
Exploring new channels to get the University's message out to a worldwide audience is something we can learn from our students.

We often talk about the University of Lethbridge as a destination university, with a strong majority of our students coming from outside of southern Alberta. We are focused on continuing to grow our reputation throughout the country and around the globe and this video tells me that there is much to be learned from our students.

While it is important to continue to foster relationships through face-to-face methods, this quirky, funny video has shown that our story can be told in a variety of ways and our students are at the forefront of these unique methodologies. And at the end of the day, a student testimonial, or in this case, a showcase of skills learned while studying at the U of L, carries more weight than any advertising material.

Having said that, furthering the University's interests internationally using personal relationship building continues to be very important. Last month I spoke about the work we did in Mexico City, Beijing and Hong Kong, exploring our historic connections with these areas and opening doors for the possibility of future collaborations.

Recently, I visited Brazil as part of a group that includes 30 Canadian university presidents. The goal of the excursion, led by Governor General David Johnston, is to showcase Canadian university opportunities and to strengthen relationships with Brazil, a country identified as a rapidly growing economic powerhouse.

Intriguing to me are the many similarities that exist between Brazil and Alberta, and the commitment by the Brazilian government to expand its academic and research capacity. This is a country that has established a Science Without Borders program, creating over 70,000 scholarships for students to travel and learn outside of Brazil.

With an economy rich in oil and gas reserves that is also working hard to find answers to environmental questions, a commitment to developing aerospace technology, health-sciences, food security and agriculture related issues, and interests around water and the environment, I see the potential of developing a number of connections between Brazil and the work we do here at the
U of L.

It is an exciting time in that the world really is at our doorstep and it is important we continue to reach out and develop relationships that will further internationalize our university.

This story first appeared in the May issue of the Legend. For a look at the full issue in a flipbook format, follow this link.