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.

Through Documentary Films, KEY Student Finds ‘Ideas Worth Sharing’

Over the next few months, The Buzz will feature short videos produced by Dan LaTourette ’12, a fifth year Kauffman Entrepreneurial Year (KEY) student who is majoring in film and media production. LaTourette’s entrepreneurial project consists of documentary filmmaking, which captures some of the insightful and interesting things going on around campus. The Buzz caught up with LaTourette to learn a little bit more about his KEY project.

What inspired this project?

Well, first, filmmaking is my passion. Film is a medium that can communicate easily on both an emotional and logical level. Indeed, something can be told to you in a film and then shown to you, capturing an idea both at a conceptual level and a visual level. I use these characteristics to promote and engage in campus activities.

Of all the things you could capture on film, why campus life?

One of the most crucial things I learned over my four years here is that I really can’t absorb all the knowledge this institution has to offer. More accurately, I can’t absorb even a sliver of that knowledge, even if I made a Herculean effort. You don’t realize how much you don’t know until you start finding things out and then you think to yourself, “Wow, this exists? What else is there?” Whether it is a strange new course offered in the Linguistics department or you went inside a certain building for the first time during your senior year, there are countless things that you can easily miss throughout your college career and not even know it. In addition to this, shall we say, natural ignorance, there are moments where you’d like to explore something more but, alas, time is of the essence, and forbids us to take further steps towards quenching our curiosity. I know this has happened to me plenty of times (I mean, I really wish I could have taken a geology class or an artificial intelligence class or, okay I’ll stop…) and it always left me wondering what else could I be missing.

Combining these two unfortunate happenings, natural ignorance and the scarcity of time, I came up with a project that would allow me to film things all over campus in the remaining time I have at this school and place these videos in a nice and neat webpage for anyone to view at any point in time. You will see such things as Mini Baja, breakdancing, audio music engineering, and even stories from individual students about virtually anything.

What message do you hope to share through your videos?

The motto (or tagline) of this project is, “Ideas worth sharing.” It is a play-on off the TED talk motto, “Ideas worth spreading.” Like TED, I see this as an opportunity to make this campus more open to the many ideas and perspectives it holds.

It should be noted, and quite boldly, that these films are not promotional videos, let alone advertisements. My shorts stress on existence of ideas and nuance of ideas as well as emotional intrigue and quenching curiosity. The shorts will not be structured in a way that formally promotes a particular group but more focus on the ideas that they express. So, consequently, promotion is an inherent facet of my pieces even though it is not acknowledged when I begin a project. So it is here I will exclaim my mission statement: To express the existence of ideas and activities happening around campus. It is an observation of the ideas and activities to share within the campus environment.

I hope you enjoy these films as much as I enjoy making them. Maybe you might learn something new or better yet, you might get curious!

Dan LaTourette’s Videos:

UR Baja Driven To Succeed

Inside a Carillon Rehersal

Eating Globally and Locally – at Danforth

By Melissa Greco Lopes
Univ. Communications

During Global Local Dinner, students at the University of Rochester sampled Sambusak pitas, Aloo Dum spiced potato stew, and pulled pork tostada, three very different dishes with one main ingredient. Each entrée was made to showcase food purchased from local farmers and producers. The dinner, which is a capstone event during the University’s Local Foods Week, was held on Tuesday, Nov. 12, in Danforth Dining Center.

Now in its eighth year, Local Foods Week spreads awareness of Rochester’s initiatives to support local produce and provide sustainable food options. Over the last decade, the University has made a concerted effort to bolster its commitment by expanding its partnerships with vendors and producers. Today, nearly 40 percent of everything sold in the University’s dining facilities is sourced, manufactured, or packaged from more than 40 vendors across New York State. University partners range from Upstate Farms Cooperative in West Seneca to the Baker Street Bread Company on Park Avenue.

While Local Foods Week typically spotlights autumn entrées, this year chefs Keith Rosengren and Chris Cameron planned a menu that also celebrated International Education Week, which promotes ways students can internationalize their educational experiences. The result: Chinese chicken lettuce wraps using bibb lettuce from Bolton Farms, French cauliflower au gratin, and Belgium pumpkin waffles with local fruit compote, among other dishes.

Representatives from the Pierogie Guy showcased Polish deconstructed Galumpkis stew with cheddar potato pierogies and the owners of Le Petit Poutine food truck brought their Canadian specialty to the grill. Additionally, 3 Square Kitchen, a local foods distributor, and Buffalo-based Rich’s Products were on hand to speak with students about their products.

The Global Local dinner also featured tinikling dancers from the Filipino American Students’ Association and a performance by members of the Korean Percussion Group, among other entertainment.

Video courtesy of Dawn Wendt and photo courtesy of Blake Silberberg.