Elevating illusions: Campaign video creates false image

Jimmy Pyles

I love this university, and when I graduate, I hope that I am fortunate enough to have money to donate to this university that has given me so many opportunities.

But the new video USI has put out in hopes to gain more donors through their “Elevating Excellence” capital campaign to reach their goal of $50 million shows the university differently than it actually is.

I’m not talking about the way the video was shot or the way the people in the video are awkwardly talking into and then away from the camera.

The university is trying to create the illusion for our alumni donors that USI’s diversity has increased since they attended. But it hasn’t changed as much as they’re making it seem like.

The people who are featured in the video have great and interesting stories that are true and touching, but the people featured in the video are not representative of our student population. There is not one white male in the video, and USI’s student population is 38 percent male and almost 90% white.

Everyone has a story that should be heard, regardless of color, gender, or any other reason. By focusing on diverse students’ stories in the video, it makes it seem that it is more shocking or impressive to donors that those students overcame their obstacles, when it was actually their drive and will that got them where they are, not their color or gender.

I understand this video wasn’t made for me, and as a public relations & advertising major, I know that it is important for USI to have that image. However, anyone who walks around this campus knows we are not as diverse as the video made it seem.

Instead of pretending that we have such a diverse student and faculty population, let’s work toward actually making that happen.

So if you want to hit me up for money 20 years after I’ve graduated, find five random students and have them tell you their stories. Everyone’s story about how they got this far in life or how this university has affected them will shock you, even if they are a white male.