UC Merced students star in music video

yamaro@mercedsunstar.comNovember 29, 2012 

— UC Merced junior William Torrez had an idea in April -- to put together a "lip-dub video" for the university and post it on YouTube.

His idea has finally come to fruition and the YouTube hits are piling up.

On YouTube since Tuesday, it has more than 4,000 and the number is climbing. A lip dub combines lip synching, dance and other choreographed activities to create a music video.

Around 200 to 250 students and administrators -- including Chancellor Dorothy Leland -- participated in the UC Merced's 2012 Lip Dub to Flo Rida's song Good Feeling. That included 30 registered clubs, six registered fraternities and sororities as well as 50 other members of the UC Merced community.

Students, especially those instrumental in making it happen, hope the video will help get the word out about what UC Merced has to offer.

The 20-year-old said he became inspired by a similar video he saw from another institution, Grant Valley State University in Michigan.

"I instantly wanted to get started on this project," said Torrez, of San Bernandino. "I e-mailed students to see who would get involved."

He recruited four other project leaders and off they went. They each had to choreograph a section of the video, Torrez said.

Students went through four months of planning to make it all happen. They had two weeks of rehearsal prior to filming on Nov. 3.

It took five hours to shoot the video, Torrez said. The filming was done by a Merced-based production company, Youbiquicast, LLC.

"It was a chance for UC Merced to get on the map," Torrez said of the social media effort. "We wanted to showcase what our campus is all about."

They hope the video will help attract students to UC Merced.

The video will give them an idea of what the campus looks like and the activities that take place there, Torrez said.

UC Merced junior Natalie Williams of Santa Barbara was one of the students helping lead the project. Her main responsibility was getting other people on campus excited about it so they would join in.

"It was pretty difficult at first because students have other things to put before extracurricular activities," she said. "Getting students out to the practices was hard."

But all the pieces came together, she said. "We had a really good turnout on the day of (filming)," she added.

Williams said some of the students who participated weren't aware of the various sports teams at UC Merced, but now they know because of the video.

"I think it's going to help promote the student body better," she said of the boost she thinks it will give the campus.

Lisa Perry, director of UC Merced's Students First Center, helped advise the students while they there planning and making the video.

Perry said that on the day of the filming she had people come up to her to say it was the most fun they've ever had at UC Merced. "Everybody was just so supportive," she said. "I think that's going to show the diversity of our student population -- something that our students can be proud of. It was a fun experience for them."

It cost about $1,500 to make the video, Torrez said. Some of the funds came from the Associated Students of UC Merced and the rest came from the university.

Torrez said it took much more work than he initially thought to make the project happen, but it was worth it.

"It gives you a certain appreciation for the work that's done" on a project like this, he said.

Reporter Yesenia Amaro can be reached at (209) 385-2482, or yamaro@mercedsunstar.com.

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