Why the Bowdoin College Welcome Video Gets an A+

Late August was a busy time at college campuses around the country. For parents who’ve recently moved their child into a college dorm, it was also most likely a very emotional process.

Several weeks ago, my wife and I helped our youngest daughter move into Bowdoin College, in Brunswick, Maine, where she will spend the next four years pursuing her undergraduate studies. While we’re not strangers to this process (our oldest daughter graduated from Kenyon College this past May), it was still a new experience for our daughter, who was moving in.

A week before move-in, we received a welcome email from Bowdoin President Clayton Rose. Not the typical email, President Rose’s message was actually a part of a short video that he invited us to view.

As a new Bowdoin parent, I immediately clicked on the video. From the first frame President Rose set a warm and welcoming tone. It was both reassuring and informative. After watching the entire five-minute video, it was clear to me that a great deal of thought and planning had gone into the messaging.

Meeting President Rose on move-in day as he was walking campus, welcoming new students and parents, I complimented him on the video. He said his office decided that a video welcome would be more impactful with new parents than a welcome letter. As a brand marketer, here’s why I give President Rose and his team an A+ for a job well done:

  • Instead of delivering his message from behind a desk in his office (where far too many leaders film their own campus welcome videos), President Rose delivered his message amidst the surroundings of Bowdoin’s beautiful campus.
  • As a new Bowdoin parent I found that the video spoke to the major reasons that attracted our daughter to the College. It validated what we already knew.
  • President Rose comes across as authentic and caring. Two critical traits for any successful leader.

The Bowdoin video is an excellent model to follow if you’re going to welcome new families to your college, university, or independent school! Just remember to get out of your comfort zone and firmly plant yourself in the center of campus where you too can deliver a greeting set against a colorful and more meaningful backdrop. As a new parent that’s where I’d like to be welcomed.

Watch Bowdoin’s welcome video here.

What do you like about the video?  I’d love to get your take.

By Jonathan Oleisky, President of Kalix Communications

President’s Notes
Jonathan Oleisky

Jonathan Oleisky

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