CLEMSON — Four Clemson University students majoring in communication studies recorded the essence of Clemson’s fan loyalty in Hyundai Motor America’s Lens of Loyalty Film contest. The automaker challenged Clemson and 24 other powerhouse football schools to produce a three- to five-minute film on fan loyalty.

Professor Karyn Ogata Jones, who chairs the Clemson department of communication studies, encouraged students taking broadcast production courses to enter the contest.

Four Clemson communication studies students breathe a sigh of relief after producing  a video that is getting "likes" from Clemson football fans around the world.

Four Clemson communication studies students breathe a sigh of relief after producing a video that is getting “likes” from Clemson football fans around the world.
Image Credit: Clemson Media Relations

“Even though we currently have limited resources to support these types of projects, I knew we had the talent in our students,” Jones said. “The video they produced, on a shoestring budget and in only two short weeks, is proof of that talent. I couldn’t be more proud.”

Only seven schools advanced to the final phase of the competition. The Clemson team made the cut after submitting a winning video treatment plan that came with a $10,000 production grant.

Students Ross Bucherati of Snellville, Ga.; Rachel Croft of Lexington; Ellen Meny of Baltimore, Md.; and Colby Thelen of Hendersonville, N.C., went to work immediately. The team captured Clemson’s spirit by bringing to life that famous quote by Clemson alumnus Joe Sherman, “There’s something in these hills.”

Meny, a junior, wrote the script.

“This was such a great learning experience, and what an awesome project to work on,” she said.

The Clemson team spent countless hours working on the video, hours they didn’t necessarily have to spare. Croft, a senior, was the chief editor. She pretty much made the communication studies lab in Daniel Hall her home.

“Our goal was to not only win the contest, but more importantly, we were determined to make Clemson proud,” Croft said.

“Clemson doesn’t have a journalism or film school,” said senior and film project manager Bucherati. “Our only experience going into this project is what we learned from the couple of broadcast courses communication studies offers, so we’re very proud of what we were able to accomplish.”

The Clemson team used the production grant money from Hyundai to purchase equipment and help build the university’s multimedia programs.

“This is a perfect example of real-world, experiential opportunities we strive to give our students in the college.  To be recognized in this national competition is a true honor,” said Richard Goodstein, dean of Clemson University College of Architecture, Arts and Humanities. “We hope to build on this momentum with additional educational opportunities for students interested in pursuing multimedia communications.”

Thelen, a senior and chief photographer for Clemson’s film, commends Hyundai for taking advantage of the opportunity to show fan loyalty at colleges and universities.

“You get to see a part of a school’s culture that you might not get to see,” Thelen said.  “For me, capturing, ‘The Most Exciting 25 Seconds,’ was really important because it illustrates just how loyal we are.”

Clemson faced some tough competition. The other finalists were teams from Alabama, Boston College, Georgia Tech, Oregon, Pittsburgh and Brigham Young University, which which submitted the winning film. Hyundai awarded BYU an additional $10,000 grant.

The Clemson team members believe their film will be cherished by this generation and for generations to come.

“Everybody should be able to experience the loyalty we experience on a daily basis here at Clemson,” Thelen said.

The Clemson project team encourages Tiger fans to watch its film in its entirety to see the work of a few other key fans. The Clemson video is posted on Hyundai’s YouTube Channel through Dec. 31.


Communication studies department
The Clemson University department of communication studies is part of the College of Architecture, Arts, and Humanities. The department’s undergraduate program features an innovative curriculum that prepares its majors for 21st century careers in communications. Its graduate program in Communication, Technology and Society builds thought leaders trained to provoke discussion, direct research, critically assess claims and implement solutions related to communication technologies. Learn more about the department here.