By Kenya Godette

Old Dominion University has made history as the first and only institution in Virginia to participate in the award-winning Amazon Prime TV Series “The College Tour.” On April 6 at 9 a.m. in the Big Blue Room at Chartway Arena, nearly 500 incoming ODU students along with faculty and staff gathered for a "blue" carpet event to view a private screening of ODU’s episode.

Amazon Prime will release ODU’s episode for public view on May 28 but the segment is currently available on ODU’s website.

“The College Tour”—hosted and produced by “The Amazing Race” winner Alex Boylan—gives an inside look at what campus life is like at universities across the country and around the world. Chronicled through the eyes of current students, each episode captures everything from academics and housing to sports and career preparation. In fact, in ODU’s episode, students delve into topics like Greek life, ODUGlobal and studying abroad.   

The series has aired 150 episodes since its debut in 2020.

The blue carpet event kicked off with a welcome from Jaime Hunt, vice president of University Communications. Hunt shared the inspiration behind “The College Tour,” explaining that Boylan created the show after his niece was unable to visit certain campuses during her college selection process.

“Especially after the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s more important than ever to make higher education accessible to everyone,” Hunt said. “’The College Tour’ provides prospective students access to college campuses they otherwise might not see, and I am excited that ODU will now be introduced to a newer, wider audience.”

Before the screening, Boylan introduced ODU’s episode via video.

“It was such a pleasure to highlight these amazing individuals and take a trip around such a beautiful, dynamic campus,” Boylan said. “I can’t wait for you to see this episode, to see Old Dominion through the eyes of those who have found a home here.”

After attendees viewed the episode, Hunt introduced TeCarla Moore, ODU assistant director of undergraduate admissions, who acted as host of a Q&A panel with ODU’s “The College Tour” student participants.

Students shared their thoughts about why they decided to participate, how the experience impacted them and how the episode captured the essence of the ODU they’ve come to love.

“ODU is so diverse,” said Majorie Cenese, electrical engineering major and computer engineering minor. “We have a strong connection with the military, some students are parents or even online students. I don’t think a lot of people truly understand that having a diverse background in classmates on campus can truly make a difference as you enter the world after college.”

Panelists also shared their thoughts about the filming process.

“The whole process of meeting with the producers and writing and giving them pictures and filming, it’s all kind of terrifying but it was a great opportunity, and I had a lot of fun with it,” said Holly Grace “HG” Bjork, cinema production major and Japanese minor.

In total, nine ODU students participated in “The College Tour.”

  • Elham Alijanpour, Ph.D. Program: Kinesiology and Rehabilitation; Minor in Biomechanics (College of Health Sciences)
  • Holly Grace “HG” Bjork, cinema production major, Japanese minor (College of Arts and Letters)
  • Irv Castillo, biomedical sciences major, pre-health concentration (College of Sciences)
  • Marjorie Cenese, electrical engineering major, computer engineering minor (Batten College of Engineering and Technology)
  • Hadley Deputy, tourism and hospitality management major, marketing minor (Darden College of Education and Professional Studies)
  • Brandon K. Hedgepeth, Graduate Program: Lifespan and Digital Communications (ODUGlobal)
  • Tessa Mati, mechanical engineering major (Batten College of Engineering and Technology)
  • Cindy Molen, public health major (College of Health Sciences)
  • Luke Scrivanich, finance major, entrepreneurship minor (Strome College of Business)

ODU faculty also contributed to the episode through writing, editing, design and video production.

  • Jaime Hunt, vice president of University Communications
  • J. Christopher Fleming, assistant vice president for Enrollment and executive director of Admissions
  • Victoria Bourne, Monarch Magazine editor
  • Jeff Cunningham, senior copywriter and content strategist for University Communications
  • Jonah Grinkewitz, assistant director of news and media relations for University Communications
  • Aaron Hodnett, senior media specialist for University Communications
  • Cetre Pegues, senior media specialist for University Communications
  • Chuck Thomas, senior photographer for University Communications
  • Jean-Taylor Zimonick, marketing graphic designer for University Communications