In every church, there is a girl who sits in the back doodling on the program. That girl is me. I have self-enforced cheat days during Lent, and a Hail Mary, to me, is a long-shot football play. Also, in the eight years I have spent at UD as both an undergraduate and graduate student, I have never stepped foot inside the chapel.
When I was assigned to get behind-the-scenes footage of the filming of UD’s latest TV commercial, I jumped at the opportunity. “I’m going to get discovered!” I thought, excitedly. When I heard the first shoot was scheduled to take place inside the chapel, I sat straight back down. Surely I was to be smited on the spot for entering that place, leaving my handheld video camera to crash to the floor next to the smoking burn mark on the carpet where my feet once stood.
But Catholicism is not a prerequisite for admission to the University of Dayton, and its catholic nature is anything but exclusionary. Whether whatever god you do or do not believe in is the smiting type, the God presiding over the chapel appears not to be. Toeing the line of entry at the side door, I silently reassured myself of this, breathed a Hail Mary — albeit desperately trying to push images of the Staubach to Pearson pass out of my head — and stepped inside.
The chapel is a beautiful place, especially when enhanced by the rolling fog, delicate mood lighting and neutrally toned collared shirts staged by the 160over90 branding agency brought in to film the commercial. Despite the clutter of activity in the lowest 6 feet of the space — cameras rolling, directors pointing, actors standing up and sitting down and standing up again — the ambiance of the chapel was peaceful, serene. The sunlight so harsh and cold from the outside filtered through the stained glass windows, beaming columns of soft light on the altar and the actors.
Students make their decision to come to UD based on many reasons. Some, God and their parents would approve of; others, perhaps not. But, had I seen the chapel in this glory, even if just in a commercial during halftime of a basketball game, I would surely have stopped in, at least once, on the thousands of occasions I walked right by.
Grad assistant Emma Jarman turned her behind-the-scenes footage into her own movie trailer; click above to watch. And look for UD’s newest commercial to air during basketball games beginning in February.