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Education Technology News: Getting into College just Got a Whole Lot Cooler
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Education Featured Article

June 15, 2011

Getting into College just Got a Whole Lot Cooler

By Carrie Schmelkin, TMCnet Web Editor


This week, the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University announced that has teamed with pioneering digital media company StarGreetz to welcome its incoming 2011 freshman class with personalized welcome videos from high-profile alumni, as opposed to simply sending out letters from the dean.


This year’s lucky class will receive customized video messages from either alumni Contessa Brewer, MSNBC anchor, or Dennis Crowley (News - Alert), co-founder of foursquare, welcoming them to the ’Cuse family. The alumni will tailor each video to the student who is on the receiving end, meaning that 300 lucky freshman just got a pretty nice initiation, if you ask me.

"The Newhouse School has an incredible network of successful, high-profile alumni, and they're almost always willing to help students and fellow alumni. That's the reason many students choose to enroll here," said Newhouse Dean Lorraine Branham in a statement. "Bringing Dennis and Contessa together with our incoming students – and doing it through the embrace of advanced digital technology, which is what we're all about at Newhouse – has us very excited. We're also thrilled to be working with the head of StarGreetz, Eric Frankel--another one of our successful, high-profile Newhouse alums."

StarGreetz' takes the voices and video images of celebrities and brand personalities and transforms them into personalized, rich-media messages sent directly to consumers via Facebook (News - Alert), Twitter, web pages, banner ads, QR codes, email, mobile and digital devices, even personalized audio on land lines. StarGreetz' content incorporates the user name and most of its products are user-customized with a selection of variables such as location, hobbies, gender and relationship, among others, creating millions of unique personalized video messages, according to the company.

For Newhouse, the decision to switch up the acceptance delivery process was a no-brainer, according to school officials.

“As a Newhouse alumnus, I am thrilled to partner with one of the top schools in the country, allowing it to talk to its students personally on a deeper level with highly-relevant, impactful messages," said Eric Frankel, founder and CEO of StarGreetz. "Years ago, I chose to attend Newhouse because of its leadership and expertise in the communications field. By being the first school to embrace our technology, Newhouse is demonstrating that it knows how to stay in front of and create trends."

As a former Newhouse alumni myself, I have to say that I would gladly take a call from a fellow alumni. When you are a student in Newhouse, one of the first things that you are taught is how close the Syracuse family is and by receiving a personalized message from a fellow alumni before ever stepping on campus, I bet these freshman will feel a whole lot more comfortable.

So who would I want my alumni call from? Easy – Carmelo Anthony. The man practically bleeds orange after all.


Carrie Schmelkin is a Web Editor for TMCnet. Previously, she worked as Assistant Editor at the New Canaan Advertiser, a 102-year-old weekly newspaper, covering news and enhancing the publication's social media initiatives. Carrie holds a bachelor's degree in journalism and a bachelor's degree in English from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Rich Steeves


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