Thursday night’s events encouraged 2Utes to rethink what it means to be both a company and a community.

Michelle Strom
Jun 12, 2015 · 3 min read

My name is Michelle and I’m the inbound marketing coordinator for USC Rossier School of Education’s online degree programs. I manage our blog and social accounts, as well as all organic outreach and creative content. Essentially, I use digital media and community building to change how we talk about teacher education. As a former teacher myself, I’m very passionate about the education space, particularly how higher education programs produce great teachers. This passion for higher education is part of why I love being a 2Ute.

Prior to Thursday night’s activities, Chip warned us all, “Tonight is going to be super intense” and he did not disappoint. On Thursday night, 2U took over Disney’s Hollywood Studios for a night of rides, food, dance parties, fireworks, Mickey Mouse, Bohemian Rhapsody, more dance parties, and more fireworks. For a high-level overview of the night’s festivities, the schedule was as follows:

  • 6pm-10pm: Full access to Disney’s Hollywood Studios
  • 10pm-2am: Disney’s Hollywood Studios become Hollywood 2Udios — providing us with full, private access to the park, 4 rides, and a dance party on Sunset Boulevard.
2Utes travel through space on ‘Star Tours” — a 3D simulation ride with CP30

Now, you’re probably wondering: How can one possibly cover 7 hours of Disney + 2U in one blog post? It’s a great question, and I’m not really sure it has an answer. What I do know: The night reminded us to push the limit, to challenge our expectations (and required hours of sleep), and to rethink what it means to be both a company and a community.

While I’ve been part of 2U for a little over two years now, this was my first company meeting, and it was so inspiring to see this company of almost 900 employees join together as a family and community over the past few days. That feeling of family and community was solidified last night as we were all reminded that what we do matters, and that outcomes matter. Last night’s celebration was an outcome, reward, and reminder of how hard we work as a team.

As mentioned earlier, recapping all of last night is difficult, but not necessarily because of the amount of time or events. We fought in outerspace on Star Tours; we left our stomachs behind on Tower of Terror and Rock ‘n Roller Coaster. We celebrated Rob’s birthday, danced with glowing characters on stilts, and paraded through the streets of Hollywood. Last night was a night for every one of us at 2U and we all have different stories — but the memories created will connect us for years to come.

See below for some memories shared throughout social by other 2Utes:

Follow #Dream2u15 on social for more from Thursday night’s activities
Mickey Mouse was everywhere, even in our pretzels

I encourage you to look through the #Dream2U15 hashtag on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for more documentation of the evening’s events. The social aspect of both the overall conference and last night is testament to the fact that we are changing higher education; we’re pushing the limit, we’re challenging notions, were adjusting the public’s perspective of what it means to get a degree online, to work for a corporate, publicly-traded company and to work in education.

Fantasmic Light Show. Source: @mish.jpg

Michelle Strom

Written by

Teacher turned storyteller. I care about digital literacy, children’s media, teacher advocacy, education research, good coffee and bad jokes.

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