Video Feature: Class of 2015 Commencements

Highlights from the commencement ceremony for the College of Arts, Sciences & Engineering at the University of Rochester, held on May 17, 2015. Graduates gathered in Eastman Quadrangle with their families, friends and the faculty and administration of the University to celebrate the 165th commencement in the University’s history. The speaker for the occasion was Deborah Bial, Founder and President of The Posse Foundation.

Highlights from the commencement ceremony for the Eastman School of Music, held on May 17, 2015 in Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre. The speaker for the occasion was Paul Burgett ’68E, ’72E (MA), ’76E (PhD), Vice President and Senior Advisor to the President at the University of Rochester, and former Dean of Students at Eastman.


VIDEO – Transforming Lives through Music

A collaborative Eastman initiative is affecting positive social change for disadvantaged children in downtown Rochester through the gift of music education. The ROCmusic program, now in its second year, has enjoyed success in offering local community students a chance to expand their creative horizons through instruction from Eastman staff members, students, and graduates. It is a joint effort that allows the Eastman School of Music partner with the Hochstein School of Music and Dance, the Eastman Community Music School, the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, the Rochester City School District, and the City of Rochester.

Parents of students in the program notice positive changes in their children’s school work and general behavior. The program also fosters a sense of community, with more senior participants in the program becoming mentors to younger music students.

ROCmusic also collaborates with a local musical group called Sound ExChange, a group comprised of Eastman graduates that regularly hosts educational concerts at schools. The latest ROCmusic concert featured collaborative performances from the ensemble and enrolled students. Alexander Peña, the director of ROC music and a member of the Sound ExChange project, sees the importance of music in improving students’ lives.

According to Dean Jamal Rossi of the Eastman School of music, the ROCmusic Collaborative was started out of concern. “Are we being as effective as we desire in reaching a population of students who wouldn’t otherwise have access to music?” asked the Dean. Rossi also feels that every child deserves the opportunity to “experience the joy” of making music. “Music transforms lives.” Through the ROCmusic program, these transformations are both possible and immediately observable.

Students’ Association stands against sexual assault

The University of Rochester Students’ Association Government is taking a stance against sexual assault by joining the “It’s On Us” campaign. The project stresses the collective responsibility of the community at large to stop sexual assault and to foster a safe and healthy culture at the University. The project urges students to work to change the current culture that allows for sexual violence.

Started as a campaign of Generation Progress and the White House, the initiative has found widespread support from college campuses across the nation, as well as collegiate organizations like The NCAA.  The “It’s On Us” campaign encourages students to take “the pledge,” which works to define sexual assault, highlight the importance of consent, and call for active intervention.

A new video released by the Students’ Association and University Communications features student leaders and administrative faculty encouraging a more active stance against sexual misconduct on campus.  On Tuesday and Wednesday of this week, members of the SA Government will be tabling in Wilson Commons in order to promote the project’s launch and to raise awareness about sexual violence in all of its forms.

“It’s on us to foster a caring community of encouragement, compassion, and respect.”  That was the collaborative message relayed by students and staff alike in the video.

Efforts to raise awareness about sexual assault are not new to the River Campus.  UR Segway, a student organization, promotes a two-fold mission of providing education about sexual violence as well as support for survivors on campus.  The group sponsors the annual Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event, a march to stop rape, sexual assault and gender violence.  MOVE (Men Opposing Violence Everywhere) is dedicated to creating programming for men to talk about and stand against sexual assault.  MOVE regularly partners with College Feminists to schedule open discussions on topics regarding gender-based violence.

“Be the difference; take a stand,” urges senator Delvin Moody ’18.  The Students’ Association hopes that this campaign will galvanize the campus community to lend its support to survivors and actively work to stand against sexual violence.

For more information on the national “It’s on Us” campaign, visit:

VIDEO – What are you thankful for?

University Communications intern Kara King ’15 asks fellow Rochester students to tell us what they’re thankful for this Thanksgiving season.


Cookie platter image credit: JulesandJoe/Flickr

THE BUZZ welcomes submissions from student writers, photo essayists, and videographers!  Email us at

Video: Learn more about MERT!

By Devin Embil

In the fall semester of 2013, I was approached by the River Campus Medical Emergency Response Team (R/C MERT) to film and produce a short promotional video highlighting the organization’s goals and operation. After filming for about 3 weeks with volunteers, I had all the necessary footage to create a short, yet informative video that I hope will further inform our student body about exactly what MERT does, and how they can be a vital resource to our University.

University of Rochester River Campus Medical Emergency Response Team (MERT) is a basic life support (BLS), non-transporting EMS agency.  Since 1972, MERT has provided emergency medical assistance to the University of Rochester community.  All care is free, confidential, and provided by highly trained individuals. Their members come from a variety of EMS backgrounds and are volunteers. MERT welcomes all students, faculty and staff from the University of Rochester community to apply to join the organization. They strive to accept new members that will be dedicated and passionate about MERT.

In addition to providing emergency medical care, MERT is involved on campus and in the community.  MERT provides standby coverage to any event on campus and welcomes the opportunity to work with organizations and student groups to educate the community on health related issues.

For more general information on MERT, visit their website:

Devin Embil is a 5th year Kauffman Entrepreneurial Year (KEY) scholar at the University of Rochester. His project seeks to combine his majors (Film and Media Studies & Business) in order to create a student-run film and video production organization primarily to serve the undergraduate student body. The main idea is to create a platform for students interested in any and all aspects of filmmaking, including but not limited to acting, directing, camera, sound, and editing to work together on various film and video projects that groups and/or individuals within the University of Rochester community might need.  The organization is called BuzzReel Film & Video Productions and will be working on more projects in the coming semester and year.

Video: Inside a Carillon Rehearsal

By Dan LaTourette ’12
Kauffman Entrepreneurial Year Student

I’d like to point out several crucial facets of my experience in filming the carillon and the carillonists. The main one, as the title of the piece expresses, is that this is a rehearsal. Mistakes were made and there are places in need of polish. But here is another thing to think about, every single person on campus can hear these rehearsals and, thus, they can hear all of these mistakes. Looking at it that way, their time spent in the cold room (well, cold in December, when this was filmed) on improving is both admirable and respectful.

The next thing to look at is the physicality involved in playing the carillon, notice how the carillonist, Rachel, moves back in forth on the bench as she plays the last several measures of the musical piece. Also take note the way in which they strike the baton (the ‘keys’ of the carillon); using fingers would be physically draining.

One last thing is that I had the option to use mixed sound for my video but I declined. As you will notice, there is a clunky sound that is associated with the striking of the baton. I chose to leave this sound in an attempt to show just how mechanical, metallic, and massive this instrument is. Moreover, it is a sound many do not have the opportunity to hear, a sound that is not apparent when listening to the carillon on campus.


Read more about Dan LaTourette’s Key Project.

UR Professor sings “I Have Failed My Physics Final”

University of Rochester Physics Professor John Howell, searching for a unique way to motivate his Physics 121 students to attend workshops, recorded a music video to show his class. Set to the song “Empty Chairs and Empty Tables” from Les Miserables, “I Have Failed My Physics Final” casts Professor Howell in the role of a student who chose to copy answers and play video games instead of going to his workshops. Check out the video below!

Help UR Grad Students Win Video Contest!

Biomedical Engineering graduate students Bryan Bobo and Youssef Farhat are currently nominated for the Orthapedic Research Society’s national video contest. Their video, shot during the fall semester, focuses on the importance of collaborative research for orthapedic healthcare. The video, titled “Working Together For a Better Future,” features interviews with both professors and doctors from the University of Rochester.

The Orthapedic Research Society’s contest is currently underway, and the video with the most votes on their website will be shown during their national convention in New Orleans in March. You can view and vote for the video here!

Video: UR Baja Driven to Succeed

By Dan LaTourette ’12
Kauffman Entrepreneurial Year Student

We got in at, like, 5 a.m. I mean, I think it was 5 a.m. It was hard for me to orient myself after around 16 hours of traveling from Rochester to Indiana. In case you were wondering, it took that long because we were hauling two substantial Baja buggies in a big truck. All in the name of competition. We were headed to University of Louisville for their annual Midnight Mayhem competition. When we got to the track, some of the guys stayed up to start working on the cars while the rest of us pitched tents and collapsed in our sleeping bags. I was one of the ones who collapsed, but when I woke from maybe four hours of sleep (I needed to get as much footage as I possibly could) I found the members of the UR Baja Team working hard at getting their vehicles ready for testing.

And then that was it. They didn’t stop working, technically speaking, until Sunday morning. There was one endurance race to top off the whole competition on Saturday night but I felt like the endurance race already started. It struck me just how dedicated this team was. Everyone seemed to be working on something specific and communication was constant. And here I am, holding a camera and walking, while they are working hard with tools and some grit, and I am the one tired by midday. And, that was when things were starting to heat up. The more than 20 colleges entered their 50-plus buggies into specific competitions. Here, I got to see the fruits of the hard labor that made these moving machines.

During the course of the weekend, I observed the progress made by not just UR Mini Baja, but by many other colleges as well. The culmination of the specific events and then the final gargantuan endurance race was something of a spectacle. The four-hour endurance race was exhilarating and really showcased the determination and prowess of these students. Driving back to Rochester early Sunday morning, another grueling 16-hour trip, I didn’t sense angst or a need to get away from Baja for a period of time to regroup from any of the members. Rather, the teammates constantly discussed ways in which they could improve their cars for future competition. The biggest reason I feel thankful that the UR Mini Baja Team allowed me to film this awesome event was the passion they so obviously have for their group. I hope you enjoy the video just as much as I did making it!

Read more about Dan LaTourette’s Key Project.