Freshman Web site provides big payoffs

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    About a month and a half after Tim Halperin created a song about why he wanted his room renovated, he said he got a grand room makeover prize he couldn’t be more happy about.

    The sophomore prebusiness major participated in a room renovators competition last year through efrog2010.com and won $2,500 in new furniture, $1,000 toward a new wardrobe, a flat screen TV, a MacBook, a PlayStation3, a Bose SoundDock, an iPod nano and a digital camera, said Molly Baldwin, efrog Web site coordinator at Student Development Services.

    In its second year, the Room Renovators competition is part of the First Year Experience on the efrog Web site program monitored by SDS and programmed by GoalQuest, the company that provides the prizes, Baldwin said.

    “This competition is nationwide and allows students the opportunity to explain why they think their room needs a makeover,” Baldwin said.

    She said the efrog Web site, started last year with efrogs2010.com, is designed specifically for freshmen and focuses on the transition from high school to college.

    “There are articles posted online through a Upeers program that’s kind of like Facebook, so first-year students can connect with each other even before they come to TCU,” Baldwin said.

    Chuck Dunning, director of TCU transitions, said the competition provides a way to tie in official communication with fun stuff.

    “When students go in and look at the fun stuff on the efrog Web site, they also see there is some other information that’s available,” Dunning said. “It’s been presented there as important information they need to know.”

    He said the competition and the efrog Web site promoting it point out the effectiveness of communication through First Year Experience.

    “They know there is a place they can go to get information about what’s happening through their first year experience,” Dunning said.

    He said any student ideas on how the university can facilitate communication are always welcome.

    Halperin was the only winner last year, but the competition format will widen for this contest, Baldwin said.

    “This year, the competition will be divided into three categories, and three different people will be able to win the prizes,” Baldwin said.

    Baldwin said the three categories are “Word Wrangler” for students creating stories, “Aural Fixation” for students creating audio files and “Silver Screen” for students making video clips.

    Melanie Cohen, director of marketing at GoalQuest, said this competition will give opportunities to different students who have different talents.

    Cohen said there is a grand prize for writing, audio and video work this year.

    She said students first submit their works, and other students vote for their favorite entries. Then the judging panel will review the top-10 entries based on the student votes, she said.

    Cohen said the criteria is based on creativity, humor, quality, originality and relevance.

    Halperin said he spent 20 hours putting the song together.

    “The lyrics came out very naturally and quickly,” Halperin said. “It was the recording part that was very tedious.”

    He said he used the efrog Web site when he was a freshman and heard about the competition through the Web site and advertisements in the freshman dorm.

    “It was incredible to be the winner and get all the prizes,” Halperin said. “I feel very blessed and can’t be more happy about it.”

    Cohen said there are about 30 colleges and universities in the nation participating in this competition. TCU and Texas Lutheran University are the universities from Texas participating.

    Baldwin said the competition started Feb. 5 and all entries must be received by March 31 at efrog2011.com.

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