Sometimes I wish I had a crystal ball to see what new innovations were on the horizon so I could get in on them early (like the guy who invented bottled water, pure genius!). Social media, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, are examples of technological advancements that have transformed our world. With college-age students being the heaviest consumers of such platforms, everything from restaurants to universities have to stay on top of such technology. Speaking of universities (see what I did there?), UNH has been a leader in keeping students connected through the communication methods they use most.
A main reason for their success has been their commitment to including students in the process. As a blogger for UNHTales, I was invited to the UNH Student Communication Advisory Council on Thursday, February 21st, to give my not-so-professional insight. I was joined by six other students, including fellow blogger Máiréad Dunphy, plus current UNH Social Media student representative Aidan King. UNH staff members in attendance included Bridget Finnegan, director of New and Emerging Media; Martha Barker and David Moore from UNH Editorial and Creative Services; Neil Larson, Web Designer; Scott Ripley, Producer/Director of UNH Video Production; and Jason Boucher, UNH Social Media Coordinator. It was a good mix of student and staff perspective, and a chance to meet members of the UNH community I would not necessarily run into on campus.
The first topic we discussed was new ideas for UNH videos, such as virtual tours of campus and dorm rooms. Remember watching those videos when looking at colleges? It was decided that cheesy harp music probably should not be involved, but that they’re a good way for students who do not have a chance to tour the campus. Another idea was visiting particularly interesting classes and featuring them in videos to give prospective students a sense of the learning atmosphere. We also reviewed the latest trend, Vine, and how UNH can implement that as well (stay tuned!).
David and Martha posed the question, “what do you wish you had known about UNH before you got here?” Everyone was pretty unanimous that UNH Dining is a major selling point for students (as evidenced by my love letters previous blog entries). The bus system too, is a reliable on-campus service, giving students access to Seacoast areas such as Portsmouth and Dover. Plus, dual major and 5-year programs offer students academic opportunities that may not initially be on their radar. Remember those email newsletters you got every day from schools that you did not even remember signing up for? (I was convinced the University of Hawaii really wanted me). One idea was theme-based newsletters that focus on a specific topic to help catch students’ attention. Even post-acceptance, we considered how to transform the class Facebook pages so they have more substantive content and less lost-and-found.
While students came up with some other great ideas, I cannot reveal all of the fun secrets just yet. This was my first time attending this group, and I will not lie, all the accomplished students and staff initially intimidated me. Quickly I realized that the staff was really approachable and dedicated to making UNH a more accessible university. The students too love the UNH community and are involved in a multitude of causes across campus. Even though UNH is a big school, it is mechanisms such as social media that bring us that much closer together. While the rest of the world was tweeting away about the latest international crisis or watching funny cat videos, I enjoyed taking time to eat free pizza connect with a great group of people the old fashioned way.
Written by Samantha Friedman, UNH Class of 2015.