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higher ed marketing

Season’s greetings! At schools all over the world, exams are finishing up, classes are winding down, and students and staff are getting ready to celebrate the holidays with their loved ones. And of course, many institutions are getting into the spirit of things by creating holiday videos to deliver their best wishes for the season to their communities.

As is tradition, HEM has pored over dozens of these clips to compile our annual rundown of the most unique, creative, and heartwarming efforts from schools around the globe.

We’ve made our list, and checked it twice… is your school on it? Read on to find out.


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Paws the Panther Helps Adelphi University Warm Up

For many institutions, the annual holiday video is the school mascot’s time to shine, and you’ll see no shortage of furry friends in this rundown. But few work as hard as Paws the Panther does in this first video from Adelphi University. Noticing how chilly it is outside, Paws resolves to knit dozens of scarves, hats, and gloves, and hand-deliver them to the school’s students and faculty.

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Along the way, he shoots some hoops, takes a ballet lesson, helps out in a science experiment, gets a medical exam, and even puts in a shift at the campus store. It serves not just as a fun holiday video, but also a neat way to subtly showcase the range of facilities and classes on offer at the school. Be sure to watch all the way through for the blooper reel at the end!

Stirling Squirrel Gets the Greatest Gift of All (a Holiday Sweater!)

While Paws the Panther is full of holiday cheer, things aren’t looking as rosy for Stirling Squirrel over in Scotland. The University of Stirling mascot has come down with what seems to be a case of ‘holiday sweater envy’.

Throughout the clip, he forlornly watches everyone around him having fun in their colourful, cozy, seasonal wear, but all he can find in his wardrobe is his plain old University of Stirling t-shirt.

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Fortunately, a group of students notice his plight, and come together to knit a special sweater just for him. The video reminds the Stirling community that the best way to spread festive cheer is to show others around us that we are thinking of them.

UNCG Bryan School has 50 Suggestions for How the Spend the Holidays

From students to faculty to higher ed marketing teams, people in the education sector work hard. And when they finally get a break, many are so used to being busy that they don’t know what to do with themselves.

If you’re in that position this holiday season, the UNCG Bryan School of Business and Economics has an idea – or 50 – for you. To mark its 50th anniversary, the school sought suggestions from their students for 50 things to do over the holiday break.

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The results range from festive suggestions like making a gingerbread house or hosting a holiday sweater party, to more practical tasks like updating your resume and LinkedIn profile, to more unusual ideas like learning to juggle!

This video marks the third consecutive year the UNCG Bryan School have made our annual video rundown, having featured in both the 2018 and 2017 editions. Fun, unique, and incorporating a nod to the school’s history, it’s another deserved inclusion.

USF Muma College of Business Build a Giant Gingerbread House

Another effort from a business school, this next clip sees the USF Muma College of Business staff coming together to construct a life-sized gingerbread house on campus – so long as they don’t eat the building materials first!

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The gingerbread house serves as a photo op for students, who are encouraged to share their pictures on social media using the #USFMuma hashtag, further amplifying the higher education marketing potential of the project.

Best of all, the school’s many achievements – such as its national rankings and graduate employment rates – are written in icing on many of the bricks, reinforcing its unique selling points to viewers.

The Wonderful World of EMU

We love it when schools use their holiday videos to show off their students’ talents, and Eastern Michigan University does that to great effect in this next entry, which features the dulcet tones of EMU’s Summit Street A Capella group. The student group only formed earlier this year, but already seem in perfect harmony as they deliver a stirring rendition of the Louis Armstrong classic ‘What A Wonderful World’.

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The song acts as the perfect soundtrack to a beautifully shot wintertime stroll through the EMU campus, presented from the point of view of a student. Elegant and earnest, it paints a perfect picture of the school and its values.

UMBaltimore’s Comfort K9 Delivers Season’s Greetings

Therapy dogs have become increasingly popular on college campuses over the past number of years, offering a low-cost and effective outlet for students dealing with stress and homesickness.

One school which has successfully adopted this kind of program is the University of Maryland Baltimore, who added ‘Comfort K9’ Officer Lexi to its campus police force earlier this year. The scheme has been so successful that the school even chose to make Lexi the star of its holiday video this year, tasking her with delivering greeting cards across the campus.

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The resulting clip is sure to be a hit with dog lovers everywhere, while also helping to raise awareness about the program to both prospective and current students.

The ESU IT Robot Gets His Own Christmas Story

Emporia State University’s IT department feature a less cuddly but no less fitting mascot in this next clip. The department’s IT Robot, which has featured in a number of ESU IT videos before, gets its own seasonal tale here as it prepares for the holidays by creating and mailing its wish list for gifts – which includes requests for a number of robot essentials like gears, cogs, and robot oil.

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The video is peppered with references to many of the IT services students can access at ESU, such as Office 365, Google Drive, and cloud storage and printing services, offering a timely reminder of what is available to them.

Waterloo Faculty of Environment Students Experience Retro Environmental Technology

We’re going straight from robots to retro technology, as The University of Waterloo Faculty of the Environment marks its 50th anniversary with a holiday video in which current students receive some of the vintage instruments its first students used back in 1969 as gifts.

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It’s a very original and interesting idea, and the baffled reaction of the students as they try to figure out what each tool was used for is priceless.

Red Deer College Promotes Kindness on Campus

The holidays are all about spreading kindness in your community, and Red Deer College in Alberta makes that idea the focus of its video this year. Presented as a how-to for creating a ‘Campus of Kindness’, the community college’s effort offers suggestions for things students can do for others.

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From donating to the college’s charity drive, to leaving extra change in the vending machines so others can enjoy a snack, the tips offered here are sure to make the school a much nicer place to be this holiday season.

Augusta University Students Enjoy Some ‘Seasonal Weather’

With an average high temperature of 15˚C (62˚F) in December, Augusta, Georgia doesn’t really get the typical winter weather generally associated with the holiday season. But that doesn’t mean that students at Augusta University can’t enjoy some traditional holiday activities.

After all, they may not have snow, but they do have… straw?

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In this creative video, students have a straw fight, make straw angels, and even go sledding, before coming together to build a festive ‘strawman’. It’s a great example of a school taking what makes its location unique and running with it.

That’s a wrap for this year’s list. As always, there were a number of great videos we weren’t able to include, so check out YouTube to sample what other schools have to offer. And if you are creating holiday videos for your school and aren’t featured here, be sure to let us know so that we can consider your work for inclusion next year.

Until then, from all of us at Higher Education Marketing, Happy Holidays and all the best for the New Year!


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