The annual Dean of Student’s Photo Contest invites students to share their photography with the goal of increasing student contributions to the Wilkinson Student Center.
The contest opened Oct. 30 and runs to Jan. 29, 2021, with five different categories focusing on different aspects of student experiences, such as Student Unity & Inclusion and Student Portraits. The winning photos are displayed in the WSC. Students can submit photos at the competition’s website.
Dean of Students administrator Kyle Slaughter said the contest has two primary purposes. “One is to improve the overall feel in the student center and to kind of try and meet that demand from students to increase the overall sense that it’s a student building,” he said, adding that they do this through the second purpose — allowing students to showcase their talents and abilities.
Ryan Campbell, a sophomore from Washington studying mechanical engineering, was a winner in the 2019-2020 contest. His photo of a BYU contemporary dancer received an Honorable Mention award in the Student Wellness category.
Campbell took the photo while working for BYU Photo. “We always do things that are a little bit out there with contemporary dance,” he said.
The dancers usually had ropes hanging from the ceiling, but they were on the ground because of construction, Campbell said. He had the dancer lie on the ground and grab the rope as if he were actually hanging from a slanted wall.
Campbell first got into photography as a senior in high school, when he took a class as an elective. “I took that class and fell in love.”
He started seeking out photography jobs and landed a job at BYU Photo after his mission.
“One of the main reasons that I got into photography is I love being able to share my work,” Campbell said. “It’s super awesome to see our work showcased in the Wilkinson Center.”
Campbell’s photos, along with other winners’, are found on the third floor of the WSC, surrounding the Terrace and between Women’s Services and Resources and the BYU Store. There are more on the second floor, between the Cougar Eat and the Ballrooms and around the East Lounge.
Displaying student artwork through a photo contest is part of the Student Friendly Committee’s efforts to improve the WSC. The contest is a tool to get student input and artwork to decorate the student center, committee chair Janae Pickard said.
“This idea (the photo contest) has been tossed around since at least 2011 by the committee,” Pickard said, adding that there was a lot of generic artwork throughout the center and students wanted more student ownership and spirit.
“A few years back, we went through and just kind of purged the building of a bunch of that generic artwork, and we’ve been looking for ways to replace it,” she said. “We finally had the right players in the right place a couple years ago to start this photo contest up.”
Pickard discussed how student artwork helps uphold a sense of community at BYU, as students recognize names and people around the WSC. “It just builds connection and community and kind of that feeling of ownership with the building.”
There are five categories in the photo contest: Student Service, Student Wellness, Student Portraits, Students & Nature, and Student Unity & Inclusion.
“The intent was to provide a holistic view of what a student experience is,” Slaughter said. “Student Unity & Inclusion is definitely something that we wanted to highlight this year in particular.”
Interested students can find more information on the contest’s website.