Commencement is an emotional time on campus. Students are finishing up their last finals and preparing to take the next steps in their career, and it’s a time for alumni to reflect on their time at Colorado State University.
The Ramblings, a co-ed a capella group of 15 CSU students, was asked to take on one final challenge of the semester — remixing the Alma Mater.
The idea was to create a video to share on social media platforms during commencement that featured the Alma Mater, the official alumni song, representing how Ram Pride stays with CSU students throughout their whole journey at CSU and beyond.
Team Social, the university’s Social and Digital Media team, has become known for its video posts, even winning awards for the ones produced for commencement weekend. Planning begins months before, as Team Social tries to get a diverse mix of content, and this year’s challenge was to use the Alma Mater. Jen Smith, assistant director of social and digital media, enlisted the help of Jerick Flores, the Ramblings’ advisor, a former Rambling himself and manager of alumni operations for the CSU Alumni Association, who connected her with the group.
The Ramblings were formed on campus in 2000 by alumnus Mike Santos, who had enjoyed a capella before his time at CSU and wanted to bring it on campus. After founding the Ramblings, he ran the organization, recruited members and arranged music.
Now 18 years later, there are three other a capella groups on campus composed of students from a variety of majors. You don’t need to be a music major — the only requirement to join the Ramblings is that you’re a CSU student. The group is completely self-funded and student-run, and it frequently performs around town.
CSU alumni who are now CSU faculty and staff joined the Ramblings and Team Social (front row) to create the Alma Mater video.
“They do such a great job of taking a song that exists and reinterpreting it to change the emotion and feeling,” Flores said.
Montana Martin, the Ramblings’ president, says the experience working with Team Social was something the group was looking forward to. The group primarily performs popular music, but they try to make it their own when they arrange it. Hayley Lewis, a former member of the Ramblings, writes the arrangements for the group and took on the challenge of re-arranging the Alma Mater for the video.
The Ramblings then recorded it and spent an entire day filming around campus with Team Social.
“Working with the social media team was an awesome experience for everyone,” Martin said. “They were just so welcoming, nice and excited to be involved throughout the day, and it’s awesome to get noticed for our hard work.”
Team Social at work.