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Campus storytellers sharpen skills at 6th annual BC2 conference

Almost 200 UC Berkeley communicators gathered Tuesday in Alumni House to hear from experts — and share their own knowledge — on the best ways to tell the campus’s story.

The sixth annual BC2 conference heard incoming Chancellor Carol Christ describe her vision of the value of communication — both to spread the story of Berkeley’s values and accomplishments to the world and to build a shared vision internally. Christ also introduced Berkeley’s incoming top communicator, Diana Harvey, who made a special stop on campus to attend the conference six weeks before she takes over as associate vice chancellor for communications and public affairs. Harvey held top communications positions at the University of Minnesota and Duke.

Author and guest speaker Vikram Chandra, whose latest book is Geek Sublime: The Beauty of Code, the Code of Beauty, dissected the movie Die Hard to describe the arc of narrative writing and make the point that its essentials haven’t changed over millennia — only the bells and whistles and tweets and posts that enable the storytelling.

Other speakers included Jeff MacKie-Mason, Berkeley’s university librarian and chief digital scholarship officer, who talked about the importance — and difficulty — of sorting out essential stories from the digital onslaught of good and bad information; alum Tai Tran, a rising star in the high tech marketing world; and Berkeleyside co-founder and editor Frances Dinkelspiel.

The conference was organized by a trio of campus communicators — Caitlin Appert-Nguyen of University Health Services, Adolfo Guerra of Student Affairs, and Louisa Spier of Cal Performances, with leadership from Ram Kapoor, chief marketing officer in the Office of Communications and Public Affairs.

Winners of the annual contest for best communications were announced and applauded. They are:

PRINT — “Bears Got Your Back,” Ashley Villanueva and the Violence Prevention Collaborative (VPC) at University Health Services;

SOCIAL MEDIA — “Berkeley Bound Snapchat Geofilter, UC Berkeley Admissions,” by Sarah Eslyn in Student Affairs Communications;

VIDEO — “The Power of Giving,” Jen Denton and Marissa Toffoli in Student Affairs Communications;

VIDEO — “Fall Program for Freshmen,”  Sarah Benzuly, Ariana Aeri Lee, Allison Hall Ramos, Monica Bernal and Kimberly A. Cattarusa, UC Berkeley Extension;

BERKELEY QUIRKY VIDEO — “Big Give Carpool Karaoke,” Rachel DeLetto, Susan Gluss and Michael Bazeley, Berkeley Law Communications;

CAMPAIGN — “Be Berkeley,” Admissions & Enrollment Outreach, Dean Allen Poblete, Rita Kasperek, Sarah Eslyn, Matthew Sun, Hui Zhang and Sierra Alvis Robinson, Student Affairs Communications.

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