The year is 1986, and Sigma Chi Greg McLogan is driving his dad’s 1985 Pontiac Fiero, while blasting New Order’s “Age of Consent,” around Baw Beese lake. He captured it all on his VHS-recording video camera.
McLogan’s borrowed his dad’s camera while he was in college, and McLogan would use it to capture the youthful antics and lifelong memories he made as a Hillsdale College student of the ’80s.
Born and raised in the city of Hillsdale, McLogan graduated from Hillsdale High School in 1984, and said he knew he always wanted to go to Hillsdale College.
When he moved into his freshmen men’s dormitory, Galloway, McLogan met his future 4‑year-college roommate Tim Kuhlman, ’88, and friend Newell Mott, who would remain at Hillsdale for one year before transferring. When the school announced it would put on its first-ever Mock Rock event, Mott said he knew he wanted to do something for it and went straight to McLogan.
“In 1984, MTV was prime at that time. When they said they were going to do an event like that, everyone was excited, and I knew I wanted to do Billy Idol,” Newell said. “I listened to him in the late ’70s with his GENERATION X album. I threw out the idea, and Greg McLogan was on board to do that.”
While others dressed up as the Go-Gos, Motley Crue, and Prince, Mott dressed himself in a leather jacket and pants ensemble, spiked hair, and sang Idol’s “Rebel Yell.” The entire performance was recorded.
It wasn’t until 25 years later that the video would resurrect itself. McLogan calls its resurfacing one of his “favorite stories.”
“I tracked Mott’s son down on Facebook, and saw he was working in Rochester, Minnesota,” McLogan said. “I sent it to him and he got a hold of it. He played the video in a room with a bunch of people.”
Mott describes the rest of the story from his end.
“I worked with my son at the time and came into the office and heard Billy Idol playing in the background and all these people were gathered around the computer,” Mott said. “They were laughing and my jaw dropped. I hadn’t seen the video in 25 years.”
But these would not be the last of McLogan’s videos resurrecting the good ol’ days. By creating a YouTube channel that serves as an archive of his old “home videos,” McLogan reveals a perspective of Hillsdale College through his own eyes.
Some videos show McLogan and fellow Sigma Chi brothers goofing around the little yellow fraternity house on the corner of Hillsdale and Fayette Street. Footage shows the fraternity members smoking cigars, one fraternity brother doing the Pee Wee Herman dance, and others capture various members of sororities hanging out on the front porch of Sigma Chi during the Derby Days competition, while sporting their various letters.
In one video, McLogan takes his dad’s Fiero on what he calls a “campus cruise” with one of his friends. While driving circles around Hillsdale’s campus of the 1980s with less development, more trees, and lots of neighborhood houses separating campus buildings, McLogan pulls over to say ‘hi’ to some girl friends.
One of the girls said, “Do you like my letters?” while tugging on her sweats embroidered with Pi Beta Phi Greek letters. Then goes on to say, “What are you doing?”
The response: “Filming you guys.” All of a sudden, the girls become camera-shy.
“There were a lot of different reactions to the camera,” McLogan says. “People would ham and show off, and then others would be like, ‘What are you doing with that?’ Most people enjoyed it.”
Kuhlman witnessed a lot of McLogan’s filmmaking during their times together in Galloway, the Sigma Chi house, and an off-campus house they later moved into together.
“Some people thought Greg was annoying when he put a camera in their face, but years later, I’m sure no one is upset that he put a camera in their face when they look back on the videos now,” Kuhlman said. “Some of it was boring stuff, but a lot of them were very intentional and sort of like mini-documentaries.”
In the older video, after McLogan’s Pi Phi friend walks away from the camera, she exclaims, “I want a ride in this!” referring to McLogan’s Fiero. McLogan goes into director mode.
“We’re going to go around the block! Film us taking off, and then film us coming back, okay?” McLogan says, as he directs his friend with the camera.
McLogan also used movies clips and music that were popular during his time in college to commemorate the times in which he and his friends were living.
He compiled clips from the “Sixteen Candles” movie, and added popular songs like “Blue Monday” and “Age of Consent” from New Order — McLogan’s favorite band — to his videos. As one video plays “Age of Consent,” McLogan and a friend walk into the McIntyre women’s dormitory from a snowy Hillsdale, startling the House Mom and bursting into dorm rooms to surprise unsuspecting friends in good fun.
One video features the St. Elmo’s Fire’s theme song integrated with videos of Sigma Chis pushing each other down Hillsdale Street in wheelchairs, and another clip of a Chi Omega pulling up her dress only to reveal shorts underneath.
For McLogan, the videos serve as a sort of time capsule that represents a time in his and his friends’ lives that was quintessentially college and quintessentially ’80s.
“Other people took pictures too, but Greg really had a sense for the moment. He was a communications major and editor of the Collegian, and paid attention to those moments that would become memories,” Kuhlman said. “He created some of those moments too, so these were things that people kind of got used to and played along with. It was almost like a regular routine on some TV talk show.”