By Zak Keefer
Piggybacking off a familiar slogan, the Temple Owls sent a message. They give a hoot.
More specifically, about taking a stand against bullying. The Philadelphia-based university was recently crowned the winner of the Atlantic-10 Conference’s anti-bullying video competition after their “Owls Give a Hoot,” segment garnered 5,353 votes on an online fan poll at atlantic10.com.
“The message here is important,” said Temple Athletics Director Bill Bradshaw. “It’s that strong, competitive student-athletes are delivering a message they believe in. I’m very proud of them, because many of them have been bullied themselves or have had family members who were bullied.”
The video meanders throughout the schools’ campus and athletic facilities, showcasing 30 student-athletes, members of the student body, campus administrators and Bradshaw collectively urging viewers to “give a hoot” and take a stand against bullying.
The video shows Owl athletes on the basketball court, in the weight room, on the gymnastics mat and several other spots. The theme, originally chosen by a unanimous vote of the Atlantic-10 Conference Student-Athlete Advisory Committees, provided the perfect canvas for league student-athletes to create compelling messages of hope, compassion and strength.
Upon watching his school’s video for the first time, Bradshaw, who makes an appearance at the end, says he felt excitement, pride and satisfaction.
“It was a job well done, and they demonstrate that in everything they do,” Bradshaw said. “It’s another example of if you’re going to do something, you should do it well. I was really proud and excited how much work they put into the video, and how concise and effective it was.”
All of the league schools participated. Beyond Temple’s 5,353 first-place votes, LaSalle took second with 4,953 votes, Richmond was third followed by Massachusetts.
The student committees originally felt that by choosing the anti-bullying campaign, they would have an opportunity to spread a message throughout their conference they believed needed to be heard.
“We decided to go with an anti-bullying theme this year for the video competition because we wanted to do our part as student-athletes to address a major issue in today’s society,” said Alex Dadds, a junior cross country runner from George Washington who first introduced this year’s theme to the group. “As student-athletes we are in a position of influence, and I think it’s important to realize nothing is going to change if we don’t speak up.”
All told, more than 16,000 votes were logged for the various videos.
“If young people watch these videos, they can take comfort that they shouldn’t be scared or intimidated by bullies,” Bradshaw said. “I hope that they’re encouraged.”