'Living as Lopes' provides inside look at campus

The "Living as Lopes" cast consists of (from left) Noah Abraham, Keegan McGonigle, Hailey-James Hines, Sebastián Corredor Gaitán, Brittany Johnson, Callie Haynes and Elisha Fronda.

By Ashlee Larrison
GCU News Bureau

With all its new construction and expansion in recent years, Grand Canyon University is a thoroughly modern place. But that isn’t the only way GCU has adapted to the times.

Technology and cultural norms also have been incorporated into the mix, and one of those cultural norms is "Living as Lopes," a web show for students and future students to watch.

The show is a follow-up to GCU's first web series, “Finding Tatum’s Purpose,” which ended this spring when its star, Tatum Sorrelman,  graduated.

“We wanted to continue telling stories of current students in a web series format,” said Delainna Jellema, Production Manager and Senior Video Editor for Grand Canyon Education. “The goal of the series is to show what the GCU college experience is like. The cast members are all very different people, and we wanted to show that there is something for everyone here.”

Noah Abraham, Sebastián Corredor Gaitán and Keegan McGonigle have done multiple episodes at GCBC, the campus coffee shop.

Student cast members share their journey throughout their four years at GCU on both GCU’s main YouTube web series as well as through short videos, called vlogs, on GCU’s Instagram page. (View their work here.)

“I feel like it’s a really cool opportunity because it shows our genuine lives, but it also shows that we’re all so different and unique and we all love such different things that it just shows from different perspectives what you can do, what the options are,” said Hailey-James Hines, one of several “Living as Lopes” cast members.

Though the highest viewership the series receives is through prospective students and their families, Hines believes the show could be helpful for current students who may not be aware of everything there is to do on campus.

“I feel like the more opportunities you take and the more events and sports and activities and clubs that you join, the better experience you’re going to have,” Hines said.

Main-channel episodes showcase events and activities students can partake in while on campus, while the mini-episodes focus on smaller, more personal, ideas such as working out at the Canyon Activity Center or going to nearby shopping centers.

Most students know that there is a lot to do on campus, but it’s easy for ideas to get lost in the busy shuffle of college life. Among the activities are student-worker jobs, and while it’s no surprise that there are a lot of them available on campus, cast member Keegan McGonigle was shocked when he got an unexpected email from GCU introducing him to a job that would suit him perfectly -- "Living as Lopes" cast member.

The "Living as Lopes" cast posts content to the GCU YouTube and Instagram pages.

“I’m just like, ‘Oh, OK, it’s whatever.’ It’s probably about housing or something,’” he remembered. “I looked at it and it’s like, ‘Oh, we’re looking for like a new face of GCU’ or ‘New cast members for a new show we want to do,’ and I was like, ‘OK,’ like, ‘Might as well apply for it. It would be fun, I don’t think that I’ll get it, but I’ll try.’”

Not only did he get the job and get a chance to utilize his prior YouTube experience, he has been able to exercise his interest in pre-production by learning some behind-the-scenes skills -- he edited an episode for the main YouTube show.

“I’m really thankful to have this job," he said. "It’s the best job and it really suits me as a person, so I’m very lucky.”

For other cast members, however, having their face seen and voice heard by an online audience is a new experience.

“I was very nervous the first time because I’m like, ‘It’s gonna be out there, everybody can see it and I have no control over it,’ but after a while I’m very comfortable with what I do in the videos,” Sebastián Corredor Gaitán said.

For Gaitán, finding a campus job was a struggle -- he applied for several jobs that he didn't get. Now he feels fortunate that it worked out that way.

“I kept applying and applying and applying for the longest time, but if I had gotten any other job I wouldn’t have had this job so I’m really glad I have this one,” he said. “Sometimes in work they just tell you what to do, but this one they try to get you involved and make it fun for you so it’s fun for people to watch.”

Cast members showcase the activities students can do on campus.

On the surface it might seem like an easy gig, but Jellema said a lot goes into it. 

“The production side of the full episodes is quite intense,” she said. “Filming these episodes is typically done with a four-person crew, three camera operators and a director/audio crew member. Scheduling this is no small task, and then coordinating the actual shoot and activity taking place is challenging.”

And although it's challenging, it's a project that doesn’t seem to be slowing any time soon. The fall semester episodes already are in the planning stage.

Jellema said viewers can expect to see episodes based on the soccer season, Lip Sync and Midnight Madness, just to name a few. But “Living as Lopes” IGTV videos are still active over the summer -- YouTube episodes are posted every Monday and will resume in the fall.

Contact Ashlee Larrison at (602) 639-8488 or [email protected].


Related content:

GCU Today: Find GCU events and ‘Tatum’s Purpose’ on GCU.TV

GCU Today: GCU.TV gives University events a video home

GCU Today: Teens find solace in sweet sound of the swoosh


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Bible Verse

Jesus taught his disciples, saying: "So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the law and the prophets." (Matthew 7:12)

To Read More: www.verseoftheday.com/