College Choice Awards

Earlier this month, college students had a chance to voice their opinion on who the next president should be. They also got the chance to vote for their favorite musicians in the mtvU Woodie awards.

Unlike many awards shows, the Woodies are based on the opinions of 5.2 million college students — not the music industry.

As a result, nominees vary from mainstream artists like Kanye West and Lil Wayne to college bands like New York University’s The Bride Wore Black and Chasing Arrows of Christopher Newport University. It’s this mix of artists who have graduated to the Top 20 charts and freshmen performers whose careers are just taking off that sets the Woodies apart from more popular ceremonies, such as the MTV Video Music Awards or the Grammys.

The academic analogy can also be taken quite literally — the artists’ educational experience also varies.

The members of Vampire Weekend, a best video nominee, met while attending Columbia University and have all since graduated. Meanwhile, the members of All Time Low, a nominee for Breaking Woodie — an award given to industry newcomers — found success shortly after graduating high school.

“I think the biggest challenge was convincing our parents at the time to let us do it and not go to college,” said Alex Gaskarth, lead guitarist and vocalist for the band. “But I think we’ve been really lucky and it kind of came together and now we have support from the parents.”

Santogold (Santi White), Woodie of the Year nominee, said the chance to speak to students was a source of motivation for her.

“I think it was just really (inspirational) for all of us to have a chance to talk about what we thought about this election and actually go out and speak to crowds for the Rock to Vote near your college campuses,” she said. “It was like a tour of people who are really committed to a cause and to bring about change.”

Santogold said she thinks the Woodie Awards more accurately reflect what is popular in music than other awards shows.

Some students agree. Misty Klock, a freshman accounting major, said it’s better than having the industry decide.

“I think that’s exciting, and it’s also a great opportunity for artists,” she said.

The Woodie Award also honors the best college radio station, which will go to WICB at Ithaca College in New York.

The fifth Woodie Awards will air tonight at 8 on and mtvU. The show was filmed in New York on Nov. 12 and includes performances from Santogold, Vampire Weekend, Lykke Li, The Cool Kids and All Time Low.