This summer, UNH Communications and Public Affairs helped the orientation staff give a big Wildcat welcome to incoming students and their parents. Our plan began with sharing photos of an empty campus waiting for orientation to begin and then at the moment the new students arrived, we were there and ready to capture the moment. As students hopped off the bus, leaped out of cars, or marched down the hill to Stoke Hall, they were all smiles, parents too. We posted our photos on various social media channels across UNH all with the hashtag #UNH18. Here’s the UNH Class of 2018 June Orientation Facebook album: http://ow.ly/BM6JK
Many of our photos were also highlighted on unh.edu along with information all about orientation, including complete schedules for both students and their parents. The #UNHSocial team wanted to benefit from the popularity of school traditions, such as orientation and build community with the newest members of the Wildcat family. During various times of orientation, we approached students to participate in a Vine video, which is a 6-second introduction of who they are, where they’re from, and what they plan on studying at UNH. It was a chance to grab students’ attention and allow them to introduce themselves to their fellow classmates and the entire Wildcat community. The videos, once collected, were then displayed on UNHTales, our student-focused blog written and produced by current Wildcats. We collected seven pages of Vine videos and our engagement with students was through the roof! For each student that recorded a video, another was looking on and ready to contribute their 6-second masterpiece. The tiny videos were also featured on unh.edu, our Facebook page (and Class of 2018 Group), UNH on Pinterest, and many UNH-related Twitter accounts.
The complete collection of UNH Class of 2018 Vine videos: http://www.unh.edu/unhtales/sightssounds/unh18-on-vine.
Communication Specialist assistant Hillary Flanagan worked with the orientation leaders all month to make sure we didn’t miss a single opportunity to connect with our newest class. She even created a contest, giving away an Alex and Ani UNH bracelet to the student showing off their best Wildcat pride during the month of June.
One week before move-in weekend, we wanted to keep building the momentum and excitement, so Senior Social Media Producer Tyler Wentworth, Communication Specialist Hillary Flanagan, and I went around campus collecting messages on whiteboards. Each message included the hashtag #UNH18 and our school logo.
We got some very creative answers!
On Saturday, August 30th, 2014, UNH welcomed the largest ever class to campus. With over 3,200 new students arriving, it was finally move-in day and the beginning of college life! The #UNHSocial team had a plan and here’s how it all happened: We arrived on campus as the sun began to rise and got ready to spend the day with students, parents, police officers, RAs, hall directors, and staff.
Wearing our #UNHSocial polo shirts, we set out on campus, first staking signs on the side of the roads leading to campus. The signs helped remind excited students what our hashtags are: #UNH18, #IBelieveInUNH, and #UNH. All day on social media we engaged with our audience using #UNH18 and #IBelieveInUNH, handing out t-shirts to students who could answer very simple UNH trivia questions – if they didn’t know the answer, we provided it for them and they still received a t-shirt!
On Facebook, a ‘welcome to college’ post was shared. On Twitter, @UofNH and @UNHStudents welcomed everyone to campus and responded to excited new Wildcats and re-tweeted many tweets containing #UNH18 and #IBelieveInUNH. We also shared photos on Instagram and our newest endeavor: Snapchat. The newest Wildcats are not only liking the photos, but also tagging their friends and roommates; commenting about the photos. It’s great social interaction. We encouraged other departments and faculty/staff/students to help us welcome new students using social media. Here’s our Move-In Weekend photos on Facebook. Finally, we asked (via social media, of course) if any incoming student wanted to write about their move-in experience and Megan Clark replied happily that she was going to document the whole weekend and blog for UNHTales.
Megan’s move-in weekend story: http://www.unh.edu/unhtales/wildcats-on-the-move-freshman-weekend
I leave you with a collection of photos, tweets, and Vine videos from orientation to move-in weekend: https://storify.com/UofNH/unh-class-of-2018. This past summer was super busy, but it was also super fun and I believe that #UNHSocial gets better with every new event. Our metrics show a large increase in Instagram and Twitter followers in the month of June and during Move-In weekend, which translates into a better informed, more connected student body at UNH.
We had three goals on Saturday: Share useful information about UNH, inspire Wildcat pride, and build meaningful connections among our new students.