Woodwalk scoured college campuses across the nation documenting modern American collegiate life for an internal research project conducted by Viacom for MTV.
On a sunny LA morning in April, Woodwalk’s cell number rang. It was an old friend from Elon University who works on the MTV research team at Viacom. She gauged our interest in helping them make a documentary to capture current student life at American colleges (to better know their target market). We were intrigued and immediately accepted.
We sat in on a board meeting at their New York HQ and observed the MTV producers go back and forth on how to re-engage with college kids; a demographic that appears unconcerned with the music channel of old. We were surprised to see them throw around altruistic ideas to try and appeal to the young socially-conscious generation: alternative spring breaks, benefit concerts, and other events that married fun with cause.
We traveled on the shoot with two producers, Marissa and Ashlee (fellow Elon alums), filming at 7 schools: UCLA, USC, San Francisco State, The Ohio State, St. John’s in Queens, Elmhurst in Chicago, and UNCC.
Each campus was uniquely scented with that fresh tang of idealism and youth - like a new garden’s upshoots. We found ourselves in frat parties and ethnic-studies protests; surrounded by fluttering sorority sisters at a chapter meeting and in laboratories as undergrads sequenced rat genomes. We roamed through those hallowed incubators of identity formation, observing and inquiring about real student life in the higher-ed bubble.
We focused on the things that actually matter about those four best years: student’s reflections on their exciting-yet-frightening first taste of independence, first loves and thoughts on connection in the digital age and rumination on what it means to grow up and be an adult.