September 25: Welcome to Meadville
Yesterday, my social media feed was all atwitter over a video coming out of my wonderful alma mater, Allegheny College. It was a submission to a student film festival – an Allegheny version of Comedy Central’s awesome project “Drunk History – and it was amazing.
So it got me thinking back to my college days, slaving away for hours in the old, totally haunted, building that housed the Comm Arts department at that time.
In the fall of 2001, when I took my first video production class, I literally sat in an editing bay with two VHS tapes and rewound and fast forwarded to edit projects together. My senior year, when I took the upper level production class, we finally graduated to computers, crammed into what I can only assume had originally been a storage closet. The only all-nighters I ever actually pulled in college were for my final projects in those classes, after which I bought another coffee and stumbled into the classroom to view everyone’s short films or music videos (all of which had been edited together in that same storage closet with me in the preceding 12 hours).
This past spring, I attended my ten year college reunion. The Comm Arts department no longer takes up residence in Arter, but rather a gorgeous, brand new, state of the art building with all of the studios, workshops, theaters, and equipment any student of media could possibly want. There is a control room larger than my entire Manhattan apartment. There is a media viewing classroom that makes me curse the ancient box televisions we had to deal with. They host a freaking film festival now! As an alum of the department, I’m so proud of them, and yet so jealous of all of the opportunities these kids have today. When I was 18, I wanted to work in media. I loved the business and strategy of media, and I still do, and while my career path took me elsewhere (somewhere I do love), I often wonder what I could have done instead. I look forward to watching what the current Comm Arts students do in their careers – who knows, there could be future Emmy or Oscar winners studying at my alma mater right now.
Which brings me to the above video – certainly not anything Emmy or Oscar worthy. Rather, this was the viral video that defined my college years – a parody of the popular early-2000s song “Welcome to Atlanta” that, before YouTube and Facebook, was passed around our college population via good old-fashioned email. Trust me, it makes my college look a lot more scandalous than it actually was. Come for the beer pong. Stay for the Tommy Maddox reference.
And if you’d like to watch that awesome Drunk History video on Allegheny’s most successful (and perhaps most mischievous) alum, here it is for your viewing pleasure:
“I’m William McKinley. I’m gonna do these conversations, and I’m gonna do them openly. No one is gonna stop me. America is founded on free speech. It’s unconstitutional for me to curb myself. Fuck you.”
I’ve never been more proud of my alma mater.