U awards $30,000 in scholarship video contest

The 30-second video contest, held on Facebook, drew 17,000 votes.

by Andrew Krammer

The University of Minnesota announced the winners of its âÄúDriven to DiscoverâÄù student video contest Monday âÄî with two students each awarded $5,000.

The University awarded $30,000 in scholarship assistance to the 16 students who received the most âÄúlikesâÄù on the official University of Minnesota Facebook page.

Nearly 17,000 online votes later, first place went to Shawn Zwonar, from Edison, N.J., and second place to Robert Nordstrom of Eden Prairie, Minn. Each received the top prize of $5,000.

âÄúIâÄôm impressed with the skill and originality U of M students showcased in their video submissions,âÄù Bob McMaster, vice provost and dean of undergraduate education, said in a press release.

âÄúThese students only reflect a few of the thousands of talented and enthusiastic U of M undergraduates who are driven to discover great things each semester.âÄù

Students were asked to create a 30-second video showing what they are âÄúDriven to DiscoverâÄù while attending the University.

Zwonar, whose video received the most âÄúlikes,âÄù used his 30 seconds to illustrate his 1,200-mile commute from New Jersey, the 40-plus gallons of fuel he uses and his determination to find alternative fuels.

âÄúI didnâÄôt put all my efforts into the video actually,âÄù Zwonar said. âÄúI put thought into what I was driven to discover and spent the rest of the time networking âÄî just trying to get votes.âÄù

Four undergraduates each received $2,500 for finishing third through sixth in the contest, but not all contestants viewed the competition as a âÄútrue video contest.âÄù

âÄúSome of the [videos] that won money only did because of their [voting campaign],âÄù sixth-place and $2,500 winner Nicolas Hallett said. âÄú[The contest] wasnâÄôt judged on who made the better video, it was based on âÄòlikes.âÄô At the end of the day, it was a popularity contest.âÄù

Hallet, a Byron, Minn. native, used editing skills he learned a semester ago and footage from his fraternityâÄôs fundraising concert to show how he discovered âÄúfundraising to be amazing.âÄù

âÄúI really think I had one of the better videos made,âÄù Hallet said. âÄúBut, I didnâÄôt just win because my video was good. I won because I had a lot of connections and help from many friends.âÄù

The final 10 students were each awarded $1,000 in scholarship assistance for finishing seventh through 16th in the Facebook voting.

The undergraduates will have the prize money credited to their student accounts to pay off any bills from the University.