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Today Show Comes to Brandeis

By Dori Cohen

Section: News, Top Stories

September 21, 2012

Brandeis has been chosen as one of six finalists to have the fourth hour of the Today Show with Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb, hosted live from campus. The winning campus gets a chance to increase its publicity on live television.

On Thursday, a Today Show camera crew filmed a rally on the Great Lawn, where students showed their Brandeis pride by making posters and wearing Brandeis sweatshirts. The campus store took 20 percent off all apparel for the event, and poster-making supplies were available in the SCC. The contest closes voting, Friday at 3 p.m.

Other finalists competing against Brandeis include Creighton University, Ohio State University, University of South Florida, Syracuse University and the University of Tennessee.

Colleges vied for victory by tweeting their pride. In less than 140 characters, students, faculty, staff and alumni were required to include the college name and the hashtag #klgandhodau, with an explanation as to why their college is superior.

For the Brandeis community, this sweepstakes is a welcomed opportunity to express what it means to be a part of Brandeis. As a small university, the chance to widen its audience on a national level is welcome to many in both the faculty and student body.

Brandeis beat a number of larger schools for a place in the finals, including Penn State. Voting is currently live online, and considering that Brandeisians make up only a small fraction of the students, faculty members, and alumni of larger colleges, the achievement is significant.

In an interview, Brandeis students and masterminds behind Brandeis’ Today Show campaign, Reed Zukerman ’13 and Rachel Nelson ’13, chair of student events, made a video spotlighting Brandeis’ vehement school spirit. The video features President Frederick Lawrence, Provost Steve Goldstein, and many students who attest to their affection for the university.

In a statement to The Hoot, Zukerman and Nelson said, “This is a great opportunity for Brandeis to receive free exposure and publicity and show everybody how strong the Brandeis community rallies behind a cause. We are tired of hearing of other larger schools constantly earning media attention for their top-ranked sports teams. It is time for a small liberal arts school to be appreciated and acknowledged for their commitment to bettering the community and making a difference.”

Although Brandeis is smaller than the rest of the schools, Zukerman and Nelson advise students not to lose hope and to continue voting, “As the smallest institution among the other five schools up for the contest, we really need the Brandeis community to rally together to win. Even though it is possible to win, we are definitely the underdogs. We really need everyone to come together and show their support,” they said.

The reaction from the student body to the news thus far has been positive, excited at the prospect of being on national television.

“I used to watch the Today Show every day in middle school, so it’s really great that the show might come to Brandeis, and I can be a part of the show that I used to enjoy as a child,” Josh Luger ’16 said.

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