Louie keys

Louie feigns dismay at being locked out of his car during the shoot for a recently released campus safety video. The short film covers key safety points, reminding the UMSL community of resources available through the UMSL Police Department and Student Affairs. (Photos by August Jennewein)

University of Missouri–St. Louis senior Eric Weidinger and UMSL mascot Louie made their film debuts as part of a newly released campus safety video.

The opening scene of the five-minute presentation features Weidinger and Louie bent wearily over textbooks. When recent graduate Krystle Crayton stops by to say hello, Weidinger and the mascot learn that she’s working on making the campus community more safety conscious.

As the duo sighs and says that it’s just one more thing they have to keep track of, Crayton quickly sets their minds at ease, providing a snappy review of simple steps and reminders to help Weidinger, Louie and the entire UMSL community stay safe.

The video is a concise, engaging way to inform the campus community about safety issues and resources, says Jamie Linsin, a psychologist at University Health, Wellness and Counseling Services who took the lead on the project as a member of a university-wide safety committee.

Louie wishes

Campus safety video actors Eric Weidinger and Krystle Crayton (left) join graduate student Katelynn Alexander and Louie for a photo opp. (Click to enlarge photo.)

“After we finalized the script, I did a casting call for student actors and held auditions,” Linsin says. “Just as many airlines now show a standard safety video as the planes ready for takeoff, we think this can be a good way to start off each semester. Our hope is that faculty will show the video to students on the first day of class.”

Crayton says she hopes the video inspires students to be more mindful of their surroundings.

“We discuss situations that a person wouldn’t want to experience but would need to be informed about in order to handle it properly,” she says.

In addition to making students, faculty and staff more aware of key safety resources such as the emergency notification system, the video touches on related topics and services like health and wellness.

“It’s a little goofy at times, which is kind of what we were shooting for,” says Weidinger, who auditioned for the part at the suggestion of a fellow theatre and dance student. “Being one of the actors was an amazing experience. Working alongside Kryssi and Louie as well as Officer Nigel Partee was a little odd at first, but eventually we were having a ball. And knowing about the campus police and how they can help is very useful. I really didn’t know all of the stuff until reading the script.”

Louie and Officer Partee

UMSL Police Officer Nigel Partee takes a campus stroll with Louie during a break in safety video filming earlier this year. (Click to enlarge photo.)

Linsin acknowledged the assistance of Video Technology Services staff member James Abernathy, who filmed and edited the project, as well as August Jennewein and Laurisa Mahlin in University Marketing and Communications.

“I hope that the video will prompt more students to sign up for the emergency notification system,” Linsin says, “and to save the university police number [314-516-5155] into their cell phones and be aware of resources they may not have known about, such as police escorts and services in case of car trouble.”

Weidinger added that much of the interaction between him and Louie is improvised.

“It just felt natural,” Weidinger says. “Louie’s a hard worker, and the day we were filming was not a cool one, so I imagine he was burning up. But the heat didn’t stop him from dancing in the office and flirting with staff in the residence halls.”

For more information, see the campus safety page.

Editor’s Note: UMSL Daily reached out to Louie for comment, but the silent Triton, true to his nature, did not respond. His enthusiastic nonverbal expressions and dance moves throughout his film debut, however, speak volumes.

The UMSL Experience


Evie Hemphill

Evie Hemphill