Syracuse students release second season of "SU Struggle Bus"

"SU Struggle Bus", Syracuse University based YouTube series is in full swing of its second season.


Cadienne Obeng wants to be Shonda Rhimes.

Well, maybe not Rhimes exactly, but the senior communications and rhetorical studies major dreams of one day being a well-known television writer, as well as an occasional actor, much like the previously mentioned TV powerhouse. With that goal in mind, Obeng co-created a Syracuse University-centric webseries: “SU Struggle Bus.”

Jonathan Wigfall, a 2015 S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications alumnus, reached out to Obeng with the idea to create a Youtube show without knowing exactly what topics they wanted to cover. Over the course of the summer of 2014, the two held auditions, worked on a script, and let the project grow into what it is today: a relationship comedy/drama show that explores the complexities of being a modern-day student.

Today, Obeng works with co-producer Marissa Lewis and editor Aaron P. Fuller, clocking in roughly 20 hours worth of work each week to produce the six, 10- to 12-minute episodes that make up season two. She works on the show every single day with the goal of presenting the college experience to a wider audience in a relatable way.

“The campus becomes really, really close, and your secrets become really hard to keep,” Obeng said. “Everybody laughs about it, so it seems like we’re all going through a struggle in making things work.”

The first episode of the second season aired on Sunday, Dec. 6. The episode revolved around the lives of seven SU students, all of whom had a story to tell. Among those actors is Jermaine Shavers, a sophomore illustration major in the College of Visual and Performing Arts. Shavers plays Zack, a character from which Shavers draws much of his inspiration. “Zack is actually kind of a part of me that I tap into sometimes,” Shavers said. “Zack’s character is more confident, so it helps me be more confident and to express more of my artistic side.”

Shavers’ involvement in the webseries acts as a catalyst for a future television and film career, as he hopes to secure an acting and modeling agent this summer.

The #SUStruggleBus team utilizes the power of social media with the hashtag #TalkAboutIt, encouraging students to talk about relationship troubles they face but usually keep suppressed.

“When [college students] get into relationships with people, oftentimes there’s a gray area as to what we are, what the lines of the relationship are. Can we talk to people, are we something that’s exclusive, are we going to be dating when the semester ends?” Obeng said. “People usually say ‘we’re talking.’ They don’t say we’re dating, they say we’re ‘talking.’ What does that mean? I’m encouraging people to talk about it.”

Imani J’Lessa Wallace, a senior public relations major, enjoys how the show gives her a chance to “be on the outside” of events and situations she goes through each day.

“It’s cool how they try to replicate the issues people go through in college, even little things like jokes you have with your friends, interactions between girls and guys, or the way people are acting in class,” Wallace said. “Like in the most recent episode, a girl walks in class late and everyone looks at her. It’s stuff like that that’s really detailed and intentional.”

Obeng graduates in just a couple of weeks, but she doesn’t plan on bringing the Struggle Bus to a stop just yet. Depending on interest, she hopes to keep the show alive with new recruits. Interested students can reach out to Struggle Bus by emailing or following them on Twitter and Instagram at @sustrugglebus.

The remaining five episodes of season two will drop every Sunday at 9 p.m. on the SU Struggle Bus Youtube channel.


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