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Electric Vehicle Video Wins Students $25,000 Scholarship

Henry Maclean '17, accepts a $25,000 scholarship from NRG EVgo on behalf of himself and his two filmmaker partners. Left to right, Jeremy Desel MA '94, NRG EVgo director of communications; Video and Media Arts Department Chair Brooke Knight; Marketing Communication faculty Doug Quintal, who advised students for the competiton; Maclean; and VMA faculty Bob Nesson, whose class participated in the contest. Photo/Victoria Bilcik '17

Henry Maclean ’17 accepted a $25,000 scholarship on behalf of himself and two fellow filmmakers on March 1 for winning the Emerson rEVolution contest with their 32-second video about electric vehicles, “Power to Be Free.”

“I’m ecstatic,” Maclean said as he sent photos of the 5-foot-long faux check to Roger JC Lee ’16 and Cooper Vacheron ’16, who are studying in Los Angeles this semester. “I’m actually going to Los Angeles to see my two teammates over spring break, so I can’t wait to see them in person to be able to celebrate.”

The scholarship contest was held and funded by NRG EVgo, a Houston-based electric charging solutions company that looked to use the submissions to raise awareness of the global movement toward electric vehicles (EV). Contestants, all Emerson students, submitted 30- to 60-second videos showcasing the benefits of EVs, which were viewed by a panel of judges from EVgo and Emerson College that chose the top ten. Nearly 5,000 people voted to choose the winner from the judges’ selections.

Jeremy Desel, MA ’94, EVgo director of communications, announced the winners at a ceremony held in the Little Building’s Beard Room on March 1. He was introduced by Visual and Media Arts Department Chair Brooke Knight and VMA faculty Bob Nesson, whose Fall 2015 class, Topics in Visual and Media Arts Practice: Video Shorts Competition, comprised the teams that submitted to the contest.

During the ceremony, Desel said that media makers such as Emerson students are a key part of instituting change to move toward more environmentally friendly modes of transportation.

“The control is in the hands of those who can make the product, and that product should be accessible, it should be easy to digest, and it should be simple to consume,” he said during his presentation. “You can do a lot in a minute and ten seconds. You can make a masterpiece in thirty [seconds] if you know what you want to do, if you learn about the story you want to tell, and you just tell it.”

The contest was held at Emerson because of its “creative reputation,” and the Emerson alumni associated with the company. One of the main connections between NRG and the College was Allison Gillette ’12, a former employee of NRG. Knight said Gillette is a passionate environmentalist and felt strongly that the money from the contest should go directly to students.

“Power to Be Free” included a recurring image of a battery charging as a montage of video clips showed college students riding bikes, making music, dancing, taking photos, and finally, charging an electric vehicle. By the end, the battery is fully charged and powers an animated car, which drives away to reveal the tagline “The power to be free.”

“We knew that we wanted to make a fast-paced video, we knew that we wanted to feature our friends, and we wanted it to be a primarily young audience,” said Maclean. “Through workshopping and through the awesome class that we did with Bob Nesson, we were able to come up with the idea of a charging battery that would appear throughout the video, and we ran with it.”

EVgo Network has since shared the video on its Facebook page.

“The winning video is absolutely of the quality level of any professionally produced, corporate-level video,” Desel said in an interview after the event. “The fact that it was something that was generated completely by students…makes it that much greater.”