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WSU volunteers show off at VidSummit

Weber State University communications students and alumni were selected to volunteer for VidSummit, an annual YouTube industry insider event in Los Angeles.

Dozens of the top one percent of social media influencers spoke to more than a thousand attendees over four days.

Collaboration is key to running a successful event. When WSU students first volunteered in 2017, they showed their strength and communication skills. This year, VidSummit personally invited them back.

“They are willing to do whatever is asked, and they’re just so happy and so welcoming to the attendees. There’s no way we could do it without the volunteers,” said VidSummit CFO Carolyn Eves.

The volunteers did everything from registering attendees to emceeing and facilitating audio, video, photography, social media, security, live streaming and interviewing.

The students were supervised by Studio 76 executive producer, Kalie Pead, and selected by Studio 76 Adviser, Andrea Baltazar. Both went to assist the event.

They were joined by alumnus and current WSU employee, Rachel Badalis, and myself. We interviewed attendees for VidSummit’s testimonial reel. Former WSU adjunct professor, Stacey Tyler, also volunteered in this fashion.

Schuylar Hudson, current student and Studio 76 Online Marketing Director, emceed for many of the event’s speakers including author, Richie Norton and Thomas Frank, founder of College Info Geek.

Photographing the event were alumni, Bryan Butterfield, a former Signpost photo editor, who said he heard about the job through a Weber alumni Facebook post, and Shane Thompson.

Butterfield said he has worked at various industry functions in the past with Weber students on-hand, and said he always hears something like, “They love people from Weber.”

Butterfield thought it was because Weber has less competition in its programs, unlike larger schools in the state. WSU students don’t have the prestige of being from a big school, so they prove themselves in other ways.

“When you’re putting on a production of this size, volunteers are vital,” said Luria Pettrucci, the event’s livestream producer. “We’ve done this two years in a row and each time the Weber students are the standouts.”

VidSummit invited Weber State volunteers to the event because of their work ethic.

Butterfield and Pettrucci may be right considering three alumni who volunteered last year as seniors were hired after graduation for high level positions at this year’s summit.

Among them was recent graduate, Christyna Sakura.

Sakura credits her position at VidSummit to a pivotal moment in her education at Weber when she decided she wanted to learn production and was advised to switch from multimedia journalism to digital media under the direction of former adviser, Drew Tyler.

Tyler received the request from VidSummit’s volunteer coordinator to invite his digital media students to come at their expense in exchange for the experience of working the high-level event.

Hoping to make it affordable for students wishing to attend, Tyler was able to secure the funding with help from Dean of Arts and Humanities, Scott Sprenger.

Current adviser, Baltazar, was able to ensure funds were available again this year, especially because last year had proven so fruitful for students as a real-world work experience.

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