MTV was launched with the clip “Video Killed the Radio Star.” For State Fair Community College, video is adding life to its awareness campaign for the Building Strong Futures initiative on the April 4 ballot.
SFCC is asking area voters to approve “a $28 million general obligation bond that would provide a new technical education facility, new and enhanced programs to accommodate workforce demands and renovations to existing buildings,” according to the Building Strong Futures initiative website (buildingstrongfutures.com). The volunteers promoting the bond have turned to some recognizable local figures for a series of social media videos that help drive home the need to support the levy.
Gary Noland, chair of the Building Strong Future Campaign, has worked at the college 44 years in some capacity, from faculty member to board president. He is pounding the pavement, so far making more than 30 presentations to area groups.
“We’ve had very positive comments,” Noland said. “The climate is very positive as we make presentations and explain what we are trying to do.”
He credits the campaign’s consulting group, which includes Matt LaCasse, social media marketing specialist at Inter-State Studios; Doug Sokolowski, who handles business development at LammTech; and Dana Kelchner and Brandi Webb from SFCC for the social media video campaign.
“I learned a long time ago you get the best people in the best position then you listen to them,” Noland said. “I can’t take much credit for the strategies. … They think it is a good way to be effective.”
The videos are effective. They feature local notables talking casually about why they are supporting the Building Strong Futures initiative. The lineup includes NFL lineman Tim Barnes, who played his high school football at Northwest High School; David Goodson, owner of Impact Signs; and Kyle Herrick, dealer principal at Bryant Motors.
Ashlee Paxton, co-owner of ReMax in Sedalia, knows video’s power to connect with people so she thought the social media campaign was a great idea. She also is fully on board with creation of a new career and technical education center at SFCC, since she has a child who is a sophomore and likely would enroll at the center.
“As a Realtor, I think it is great,” she said. “It is going to bring more people to the community. I think it is going to be good for everybody. I love how Sedalia is growing.”
Also cutting a video was former Pettis County Presiding Commissioner John Meehan, who said that by adding the center, “We’re going to put more students to work right here in our community, and when they go to the store and buy things they are going to have a positive effect on our local economy. … It’s good for the college, good for our community and good for folks across the board.”
Actually shooting the videos created some comedic outtakes. Meehan shot his piece on his own – a first-time experience.
“Mine was no canned stuff, it’s just me being familiar” with the campaign, he said. However, his first couple of takes had to be reshot because “I didn’t have the camera positioned correctly so it was cutting off the top of my head.”
It took six takes for Paxton to get her clip done, but it wasn’t all her fault.
“I recorded it in my office at ReMax,” she said. “No one knew I was doing it, and there was one where someone came down the hall excited, so they were yelling. It was hilarious. I was thinking, ‘That was going to be the best one and it got all messed up.’ It was pretty funny.”
Paxton see positives in the mix of voices supporting the campaign.
“I think with all the different types of people doing the videos, we will get to everybody we need to reach,” she said.
The videos can be seen on the Building Strong Futures Facebook page. Noland sees them as part of the campaign’s efforts to be up front about its intentions.
“We want to be transparent, we want to be open, we want to be honest and we want to educate,” he said. “If we do a good job of informing people, that’s going to make the choice easy as far as I’m concerned.”
Bob Satnan is the communications director for Sedalia School District 200.