Bridgestone sponsors scholarship, film contest

Jennie Kushner

Last year, Alabama had yet another victory to boast of as one student received a $5,000 academic scholarship after winning the Bridgestone Americas Safety Scholars Video Contest.

This year, Bridgestone Americas is inviting students nationwide to vie for the scholarship by entering a video educating young drivers regarding safety behind the wheel, both as a driver and a passenger.

Winning submissions may be used as a public service announcement nationwide. In 2010, Safety Scholars videos that were included in the PSA campaign aired more than 7,600 times.

Henry Busby, a junior majoring in telecommunication and film and American studies won the contest last year.

“Last year my video showed the consequences of reckless driving by showing wrecked cars in a junk yard accompanied by on-screen text of all the excuses we make while driving recklessly,” he said. “It was a sort of whirlwind experience. I planned on doing a video all along, but I sort of let it get out of my mind for a little while. I finally remembered on the last day, so it was a little bit hectic trying to brainstorm, shoot, and edit in the same day against the deadline.”

The competition, now in its fifth year, was initially created as a way to get young drivers to communicate with their peers concerning safe driving said, Kristin Hampel, a spokeswoman for Bridgestone Americas.

“Auto accidents are the leading cause of death in this age group, and the number is scary,” she said. “Since peer-to-peer communication in this age group proves to be one of the best forms, we hope that young drivers will use this opportunity to speak to their peers as well as listen.”

Any driver between the ages of 16 and 21 who is enrolled in an accredited secondary, college level or trade school are eligible to submit, Hampel said.

“Students may only use original content and ideas in their videos,” she said. “No copyright music/images/etc. We welcome original music or royalty-free music.”

Hampel said last year, 1,200 students submitted videos. Three students were grand prize winners, and there was also a Critic’s Choice winner.

This year, Hampel hopes to surpass the number of entrants.

“This is our fifth year to offer this scholarship contest, and each year we have increasingly better results,” she said. “It’s difficult to project a number, but I hope we succeed in surpassing last year’s number.”

“The videos are judged by a panel of Safety Scholars and Bridgestone representatives to narrow the pool down to 10,” she said. “Then, the top 10 are posted on where it is up to the general public to vote for their favorite.”

Joey Singleton, a junior majoring journalism, is planning on entering the competition. He said the competition involves two of his favorite things, video production and money.

“Of course I am going to submit a video,” he said. “I enjoy the challenge of bringing humor to a dark subject and winning some extra scholarship money can never hurt.”

Hampel encourages students to enter.

“Go for it,” she said. “It is a great way to share safe driving tips with other drivers, while earning money for college and expressing yourself creatively.”

Clay Neels, a majoring in freshman mechanical engineering, is planning on entering the contest to educate his peers.

“I have known way to many kids my age who have passed away from car wrecks,” Smith said. “I think it is great that Bridgestone Americas is encouraging such a positive competition. It is great that they are rewarding educating with education money.”

Busby said to really think about the audience.

“Just think honestly about what would affect you as a viewer,” he said. “Think about what it would take to get your attention as a driver and force you to confront your driving habits.”

Videos must be 25 to 55 seconds in length. Entrants can submit videos through May 13 at Winning videos will be announced on June 28 on their website.