Getting students involved on our (or any) campus is mission-critical. Reasons include the personal — students’ sense of fulfillment, friendships and fun are important to their success — to the institutional, as conventional wisdom says involved students are more likely to stay in school and on track. So our Student Involvement Fair, the first week of classes, is kind of a big deal … and this year, for the first time, it made a big splash in social media thanks to more crowd-sourced event coverage.
When the fair unfolded on Wednesday, our campus-wide social media staff (all one of me) was stuck in the office dealing with news releases (a 20th century paradigm?), but students started carrying the banner for involvement. Representatives of various clubs and organizations tweeted invitations for any followers to come to the Student Involvement Fair, which we saw via our search columns for “sunyoswego” and “suny oswego” on Tweetdeck, so the @sunyoswego account amplified these invitations by retweeting. And then I realized just doing that was a missed opportunity.
So @sunyoswego not only posted a message for student organizations to tweet us pics of their setups, but we @ replied to all the organizations who had sent tweets asking students to come to the involvement fair. Responses from the @ had a 100 percent success rate — a perfect 10 out of 10, which isn’t huge but it’s 10 photos we didn’t have, and we collected a couple more.
In addition to RTing everything we received on Twitter, we posted the neat dozen photos as a Student Involvement Fair gallery on Facebook, which immediately drew a lot of attention, including 73 total likes, 14 comments and two shares with the first day. A picture of Alpha Phi Omega (above), our national service fraternity, even brought nice testimonials including “Yay!!! APO!!! One of the best decisions of my college years!” and “Great times with great friends. Met my best friends and my wonderful husband in APO. … Glad to see APO is still active.”
Our posting also drew at least one happy Twitter comment:
And, working in social media, we should all be very happy when we can build excitement and engagement. Or, rather, when our bright and involved students do it.