This past Friday, the Boston College Church in the 21st Century Center released a new video tribute to Dorian Murray, an 8-year-old cancer patient. Murray was diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma, a pediatric cancer, when he was four years old. Recently, his cancer was determined to no longer be treatable. This sparked a social media campaign, driven by the hashtag #DStrong, to spread awareness of Murray’s struggle, and has sparked a considerable outpouring of support from people across the country.
BC’s recent contribution to this campaign comes in the form of the previously mentioned video, a compilation of students dancing around campus locations, a style seen in a number of previous C21 videos. Students hold signs reading, “Hey Dorian, you are famous at Boston College” and “#DStrong.”
This video is clearly a positive and worthwhile use of resources toward a good cause. Besides the obviously praiseworthy aspects of this project, it also illustrates the possibilities of the video format BC has been using to further marketing and publicity for the past year. Many videos, including C21’s Taylor Swift “Shake it Off” video and the many Office of News and Public Affairs seasons videos such as “Fall” and “Winter,” have generated serious traction online and have been useful marketing tools. While the University needs these videos to improve enrollment numbers and achieve publicity goals, it should also begin using this new tool to further other causes and campaigns.
Many of the videos produced serve mostly as attractions for prospective BC students and do little to address the issues that current BC students face or the various efforts of the administration in areas such as mental health and positive body image. These marketing-focused videos remain important for the purpose of admissions, but the medium should be expanded to disseminate information on other topics meant for current BC students and their interests.
The DStrong tribute video is a good example of a cause BC can advance through the use of these popular videos. There are many messages that BC should address and campaigns that these videos can further. Some examples of this would be the many mental health awareness campaigns, Love Your Body week, and diversity and inclusion campaigns.
There are many talented people on campus with the skills and motivation to disseminate information and messages through online formats such as the DStrong video. BC should seek out these people and strive to use them in the creation of widespread online projects such as this, which can gain considerable traction on social media. The campaigns and efforts of students across campus can be addressed more openly and directly through these kinds of videos. This would demonstrate engagement while also promoting interest and furthering the relevant cause.
Photo Courtesy of Church in the 21st Century