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Interview with Carlos Vidal: UFV student, SUS president and YouTube sensation

An interview with Carlos Vidal, SUS president, as an introduction to what the Student Union Society does



By Nadine Moedt (The Cascade) – Email

Print Edition: August 21, 2012

What have you studied at UFV?

I’m a business student. When I first came, I kind of didn’t know what I wanted to do, I took a year, did the business program and my concentration was human resources management. I’m a people person, I like communicating with people on a daily basis. I thought HR would be something that would be good for me. They say go into something or try to find an area that you like in your studies, so that’s why I chose HR.

How long have you been at UFV?

I’m coming up on year five.

Tell us about the YouTube videos.

YouTube! Well I’ve always liked making videos, since I was a young kid. In high school I took a couple of editing courses just for fun. I follow a lot of people on YouTube, there’s certain personalities I like to watch, MysteryGuitarMan, Ray William Johnson, Ryan Higa. As I was watching them I could see how people actually got to make a living by joining something called the YouTube partner program. If you have a large following of people, you can join and make money selling ads and making t-shirts. I thought that was really cool, a dream job for these people. I thought oh, I’ll just put up some videos for fun and see what happens. I thought, what’s something I could do that people might think is funny, what would be worth sharing? And I thought maybe people might think it’d be funny if they saw a white person speaking Chinese, fluently making jokes about things, talking about things that are actually like trendy in their pop culture and stuff like that.

So I made a couple videos and started getting people subscribing to my channel. One of my videos was talking about this Chinese pop star’s videos that I thought was really funny, it was kind of like a Brittney Spears, Lady Gaga kind of feel to it. And so I just made a video talking about it and sort of poking fun, exaggerating about how I thought the girl was so good looking. It went viral, something like 30 thousand views in a week or two. I got an email from her [the pop star’s] marketing manager saying she thought it was so funny. So the girl liked the video, shared it on her fan page and then it got a couple hundred thousand views. That was my first break, I had four or five thousand subscribers.

I started doing this series thing, a word or so a week, sharing why I think it’s funny. Two of those videos went more viral then the other one, I did a video about a slang called chop yueng, which is like when you pose for a photo, you know how a lot of teenagers take a picture of themselves with their iPhone and pout their lips and stuff and try to look like a model … it’s fun to poke fun at that. That video got like half a million views. I started selling t-shirts with that phrase on it and like a thousand people bought the shirt. I entered into a contest with Canada Pacific Airways and I became a semi-finalist with my videos, they flew me to Hong Kong for a week … I’ve had the opportunity to meet that girl in the music video, I met her a couple of times, I’ve been invited to be in the Chinese Multicultural station we have in Vancouver and do events, like some performances with TV stars that come here from Hong Kong to do promotional visits and shows. It’s been fun to mix in with that culture like that and that sector of entertainment and just have fun with it. And it all happened while I was here at UFV.

When did you become president of SUS?

I became president last year, so April 2011, and I did a full one-year term and got reelected for a second term. So it’s been about a year and a half.

So what are your duties as president?

The main duty as president is being spokesperson; I will speak on behalf of the whole society to students, to the public, I’m the person to do that, which I don’t mind doing. For me I feel like I’m doing my job when I’m out and about, attending all kinds of events and activities, saying SUS supports this or SUS is down with this. I chair our board meetings. Day to day, I’m here, I manage the staff. I consider us a team. I have to provide a vision and goals and advise what to do, and I will give suggestions I think we could do to improve or decisions we could make for students, but I do act through what the board wants me to do. I will chair some meetings, but also attend all our meetings. We have committee meetings every week, one for events we’re planning and organizing, one for finances, for transportation issues, meetings for general advocacy, internal operations. I write reports every month to keep everyone updated, and students have the ability to look at or read any of my reports at their request. Basically it’s my accountability to the students that I’m doing what I’ve mandated to do. I’ll meet with the president and make sure we have a good relationship with UFV?

What do new students need to know about SUS?

I don’t necessarily care if a new student finds out about what the SUS does in the first year, but if a new student can learn that the UPASS can give them some cool benefits, like they can go to the rec center or get some discount or use the bus, if they can find out that the health plan is a really good deal, if they can find out that there is a club or association in a particular area of interest that they have and they join or get involved, then I’m happy. If they find out that there’s AfterMath on campus and they can grab a burger or a beer on campus for a really good price, I’m happy. It wasn’t until I started getting involved that I realized that this is part of a community, it’s a second home to me. If students can reach that point, if we can get away from that come-to-school-go-to-class-go-home, you’re going to get a lot more out of your university. You’re not going to just grad with your degree, you’re going to grad with different experiences, like if you have the experience of being president of a club, or being on student government, being a writer at The Cascade, being someone who hosts a show at CIVL, that’s going to count to your employers. They’re going to see that you wanted to do more than just what was required. You just get so much more out of school. So my advice to first year students is to try and find that thing that they can do that will give them experience outside the classroom, that will help them make friends outside the classroom, and that is still on the UFV campus.

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