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24 hours in photos at suny oswego: mission accomplished, lessons learned.

Watching a Zamboni clear the ice at 3:12 a.m. Visiting our student ambulance corps at 2:23 a.m. Seeing students working on papers and projects in our library at 2:47 a.m. Smelling donuts frying at 4:42 a.m. Listening in the studio as WRVO starts its local news coverage at 5:30 a.m.

These are among the many things happening while most of the campus and community are fast asleep. And also among the many highlights of our successful 24 Hours in Photos project looking to capture the many facets and faces of SUNY Oswego from 12:01 a.m. to midnight on Friday, Dec. 2  — a fairly typical day on campus.

In addition to the wee hours happenings, much of the day captures academics, the arts, athletics and more — classrooms, study areas, student organizations, a student art opening, musical performance, formal event, two basketball games, a women’s hockey contest and much much more. Moments large and small. Public and private. Silly and sublime.

Friends at other colleges have shown an interest in doing similar projects, so I’m happy to pass along lessons learned:

Use a team. While I did a lot of shooting for those 24 hours, I had a half-dozen dedicated students helping collect images as well as our office photographer. I opened the contributions to the campus community, and students, faculty and staff submitted by emailing sunyoswego@posterous.com, tweeting with a #24hoursinphotos hashtag or directly submitting to me via email or Dropbox. The combination of team and crowdsourced contributors made for a marvelous variety and a nice level of community ownership. But the team also included entities like University Police, who let me ride along to capture many images, and Auxiliary Services, which allowed me to visit the on-campus bakery and an early-opening dining hall.

Plan extensively. I created and shared a Google document with other participants containing photo ideas we all contributed. I asked students to cover particular beats, areas and events as their schedule allowed. I laid out my own schedule of overnight shots, knowing that 12:01 to 7 a.m. could be a big challenge. And I directly solicited ideas and submissions from anyone I could think of, especially events staffers and student organizations.

But expect the unexpected. Outdoor shots were muted by an unusually rainy December day; I’m no fan of snow, but it would have been more picturesque. The foul weather meant I couldn’t capture a glorious lakeside sunset (one of our trademarks). Some student photographers had complications arise, but we found ways to adjust. And some of the best photos were utter serendipity, as one may expect.

Goals first, then tools. You’ve heard this from me before? Once we had the basic concept, I sought tools that could best execute. Dipity threw its share of challenges in along the way — such as occasional visitors finding a message saying they did not have permission to view the timeline — but I value its robust experience, so we finally upgraded to the $4.95/month package because the free version only allowed 150 photos and limited access options. Posterous worked marvelously in taking moderated photo submissions with easy download. And Dropbox once again proved an outstanding way to move large amounts of big files.

It did involve plenty of work for several people, but getting a half-hour of sleep between Wednesday and Friday was a worthy sacrifice for meeting the unsung heroes protecting campus, preparing food or operating necessary equipment while I’m usually dozing in a warm bed. If you’re interested in doing a similar project, feel free to ask questions here or drop me a line. It was an unforgettable and undeniably valuable experience demonstrating what wonderful people, places and events comprise our campus community.



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24 hours in photos at suny oswego: let’s see what develops.

We all know that college campuses are exciting places. But have you ever stopped to think about how much happens there in a 24-hour span?

That’s what we hope to find out during our SUNY Oswego: 24 Hours in Photos project from 12:01 a.m. to midnight on Friday, Dec. 2. The odd inspiration comes from Frank Turner’s video for “The Road” where he performs 24 shows in 24 hours; it made me think about all the activity that takes place here that many people don’t even realize. Because Fridays have classes and other events — Dec. 2 has a student art opening, choral concert, women’s hockey game, two basketball games and a formal, among other things — this provides a broad swath of campus experience. I don’t just want the events everyone sees, but also what happens behind the scenes.

In addition to those of us (me) working 24 hours plus other staff and students, we’re trying to make it interactive and invite user-generated photos by allowing people to email submissions (with name, place and time of photo) to sunyoswego@posterous.com. It’s a moderated account, but any decent submissions can appear on that site for starters. Folks can also tweet images with a #24hoursinphotos tag. From there, I’d love to turn the submissions into a Dipity timeline (like we used for our sesquicentennial history) and maybe some other slideshows and/or a video showing top picks.

But this project isn’t about a gimmick; as always, goals come before tools. One goal is to produce something of interest to audiences ranging from prospective students, wondering what they can do on campus, to alumni who are always interested in seeing what’s happening at their alma mater. Moreover, it can raise awareness for current members of the campus community as to how much occurs here, the people, the places, the happenings large and small.

Obviously, I’ll keep readers posted on the results. May even keep a running blog throughout that day. Whatever happens, I can’t wait to see what develops.

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