‘Stout Proud’ video, made by two alumni, premieres Feb. 17

February 14, 2017

R.T. Vrieze, left, and Christopher Bartlett created the “Stout Proud” video

University of Wisconsin-Stout will have two new reasons to show its school pride on Stout Proud Day, Friday, Feb. 17.

The main event is the Alumni Association’s premiere of the new “Stout Proud” video that celebrates the mission, spirit and special aspects of Wisconsin’s Polytechnic University. The approximately six-minute film will have three showings, at 1 p.m., 1:45 p.m. and 2:30 p.m., in Ballroom B of the Memorial Student Center.

Free popcorn, root beer and cake will be available.

The university is doubly proud because the video was made by two recent alumni, Christopher Bartlett and R.T. Vrieze, who co-own Knorth Studios in Eau Claire. Bartlett and Vrieze worked on the video over the course of nearly two years, shooting dozens of hours of interviews and other footage before editing them down to the final product.

“We feel really good about it. It was a massive undertaking,” Bartlett said. “It was a challenge creating a narrative and story and hitting on the heartstrings of what it means to be a UW-Stout alum. It was a lot of pressure representing UW-Stout.”

Along with about 20 individual interviews with alumni, faculty, staff and Chancellor Bob Meyer, Bartlett and Vrieze shot video of commencement, Move-in Day at the residence halls and other events on campus. They also captured campus during all four seasons and worked with University Archives to incorporate historic photos.

“It was exciting when it all came together,” Bartlett said. “Being alumni, it made the project so much more meaningful. We still know a lot of professors. We got to meet Bob Meyer and so many other alumni.”

Bartlett and Vrieze graduated in 2012 and 2013, respectively, with Bachelor of Fine Ars degrees, Bartlett concentrating on multimedia and Vrieze on graphic design. Knorth Studios is a design agency, providing branding, web and video services.

Knorth also is co-owned by two more alumni, Aaron Brice and Tim Brunner, who started Ambient Inks screenprinting company. The companies share an office complex on Water Street in Eau Claire.

“We didn’t have a big portfolio at the time the Alumni Association hired us, so they took a little bit of a risk on us, but we definitely had a vision for it,” Bartlett said.

They hope to attend one or more of the premiere events Friday.

Mesa Covill, associate director of the Alumni Association, said Bartlett and Vrieze “did a tremendous job on the video, and we want to share it for everyone to see.”

Bartlett and Vrieze were chosen to do the video by former Alumni Association director Juliet Fox.

Stout Proud Day has become an annual event that also recognizes the birthday of alumna Wawa Thorson. She created the Kolbenschlag Endowed Memorial Scholarship in 1996 “in honor of her supportive parents and her Stout spirit” and left the university an estate gift in 2012 to help fund an annual university celebration.



R.T. Vrieze, left, and Christopher Bartlett created the “Stout Proud” video that will premiere Friday, Feb. 17, at UW-Stout. They are UW-Stout alumni.