MBA student Amy Chong just won a trip to San Francisco to network with tech industry insiders – and all she had to do was share everything that she loved about U of T. Chong’s “We Love U of T” slideshow presentation snagged first place in software company Prezi’s “Canvas My Campus” contest, which asked contestants to share a story about what made their school unique. After competing with more than 100 submissions from universities and colleges around the world, Chong came out on top.
Using Prezi software, a virtual storytelling tool, Chong compiled a series of images with short dialogue to illustrate the collective student experience. “The Prezi was inspired by people’s real stories,” says Chong, who is also a 2012 engineering graduate. “I wanted to draw on the emotional rollercoaster of being a U of T student – feelings of happiness, despair, accomplishment, hope, fun and empowerment.”
Chong, who doesn’t appear in any of the slides, curated 60 images from her friends’ social media photo albums for the project. With the help of fellow alumni Darryl Cheng (BSc 2006, BASc 2012) and Stefanie Schram (MBA 2010), she set out to recreate the U of T experience using the personal stories of people in her life. Cheng composed and played the background music using a ukulele and guitar.
One of the slides showcased two students – whom Chong also mentored last summer – turning an idea for a lightweight photography lighting system into a startup . (That project went on to win The Entrepreneurship Hatchery’s $20,000 Lacavera prize in September 2013.) Another slide showed soon-to-be graduates in their academic robes on front campus – a taste of victory that many alumni can remember.
“I wanted this Prezi to be authentic,” says Chong. “The hope is that the final product resonates with both current and past U of T students – and that others can see their stories in the pictures.”