MelioRAAS! For Dance Team, It Doesn’t Get Better Than First Place!

By Erica Messner
Univ. Communications

For Rochester Raas, the University’s traditional Indian dance team, victory in their final competition of the year brought more than glory. Raas’ first place finish at Nasha 2013 was crowned by a shiny gold trophy and $1,250 in prize money.

Hosted by the American India Foundation of Purdue University, Nasha 2013 was a brand-new competition featuring Bollywood/Fusion and Garba/Raas divisions, and offering a sizeable cash prize for the top finishers. Rochester Raas beat out teams from Northwestern, Tufts, and UNC to take first place in the Garba/Raas division. To see Rochester’s winning set from Nasha 2013, check out this video posted by Raas:

Though their competitive season is over, the group will continue to perform in the community and prepare for next year.

The active members of Rochester Raas include: Minti Patel ‘13, Maryann Hong ‘13, Maral Arjomandi ‘13, Ki Cheng ‘13, Paul Vergara ‘13, Phil Cohen ‘14, Lauren Sava ‘14, Sydney Robinson ‘14, Rohini Rege ‘14, Priyanka Patel ‘15, Shakira Banhan ‘15, Marika Azoff ‘15, Shiv Patel ‘15, Sameer Shamsie ‘15, Sam Benham ‘15, Taylor Sargent ‘15, Sukanya Roy ‘16, Kim Rouse ‘16.

Midnight Ramblers Star in New Admissions Rap Video

Univ. Communications – The latest video created by the University of Rochester’s Admissions Office gives prospective students facts and figures about the University with a hip hop twist.

In the video, released on Wednesday, March 7, popular all-male campus a cappella group, the Midnight Ramblers, rap in more than 20 locations, including the iconic Rush Rhees Library, I.M. Pei-designed Wilson Commons, and Rochester’s underground subway tunnel. The video’s chorus promises “one hundred percent reason you remember our name.”

“We wanted high school students to see the many options available,” said Satyajit Dattagupta, director of enrollment communications, who initiated the concept. “The music video captures the energy, enthusiasm, and creativity here.”

Admissions counselor Michael Shea ’09, ’11W (MS) lent his talents as an amateur lyricist, drawing on his own experiences in Rochester courses including History of Jazz, taught by senior presidential advisor and University Dean Paul Burgett, and an address from energy secretary and Nobel physics laureate Steven Chu ’70. Incorporating Rochester’s flexibility for students to build their own curriculum and its place on Kaplan’s 2007 “25 New Ivies” list made for an unusual rap challenge.

Along the way, Shea hoped high school students also will catch pop culture references like the Kardashian sisters and unique slices of Rochester life. “If we could have made it even better, we would see Alec Baldwin shopping with his mother,” Shea joked, referencing local ads from regionally-headquartered grocery giant Wegmans.

Shea’s collaborators included in-house videographer Chris Niswonger, who selected showcase University and city locations that would resonate with students. “You can watch it over and over again and learn something new,” Niswonger said. “If someone doesn’t know about the University, they can dig deeper and get a different experience each time.”

Noah Berg ’12, the general manager for the Ramblers, blended Shea’s lyrics with a derivative interpretation of Fort Minor’s Remember the Name. The fast rap at 2:14 shows Aaron Michalko ’14 riffing in real time from an Admissions Office brochure.

“We were reading the facts sheet and it just flowed,” Michalko, a native of Canandaigua, N.Y., explained. “What you hear is nearly verbatim.”

“The video was a way for us to spread our passion for the University musically and explain why it’s awesome to come here,” explained Jared Suresky ’12, a Ramblers soloist. “It adds spice and flare to Rochester. I think Mike and Chris fused that message.”

Added Shea, “We want proud alumni to say, ‘That’s where I went to college.’ ”

Article written by Melissa Greco Lopes, editor of The Buzz and student life publicist in University Communications. Photos courtesy of the Office of Admissions.

Video: Dean Burgett Presents a History of the University

Univ. Communications – Ever wonder how the University came to adopt Meliora as its motto? Or wonder who Rush Rhees was? During a lecture sponsored by the Inter-Class Living Community, University vice president Paul Burgett takes viewers through the 160-year history of the University. Watch the video…

Video courtesy of Matt Mann, University Communications