University promotes new social media initiatives

Tammy Tran

In recent years, Lawrence’s increased use of social media has been transformational. Lawrence’s Facebook page is “liked” by more than 3,600 people, and the university’s Twitter account has more than 400 followers. These trends signify the way in which social media continues to be instrumental in communicating on campus and in sharing Lawrence with the rest of the world.
Rachel Crowl, web content and new media coordinator at Lawrence, heads the university’s social media initiatives. Crowl launched Lawrence’s Facebook and Twitter pages and consistently works with others to update these pages. Crowl is also responsible for the “This Is Lawrence” videos on YouTube, short video clips depicting different areas of life at Lawrence.
Many of Lawrence’s individual academic departments have their own Facebook pages, as well.Crowl describes the wide range of pages as “a constellation of Lawrence Facebook pages.” These include the Lawrence University London Centre, Alumni Association, Wriston Art Center, Conservatory, gender studies department and Bj”rklunden – just to name a few.
“Social media is easy,” stated Crowl. “People understand how to use it and, most importantly, students are using it. It allows various departments and various people to easily post things about what’s going on within their realm.”
Grace Kutney, Lawrence’s career technology specialist, is responsible for managing the Facebook and Twitter pages for the Career Center. According to Kutney, social media has allowed the Career Center to gain national reach and recognition.
Specifically, the LU Career Center was recognized as having one of the top 10 career blogs in the nation. The blog, LUCareerCenter2Go, was the Career Center’s initial foray into the realm of social media. Since then, their Twitter page has served as a great way to connect with constituents.
“As part of our effort to be more green,” stated Kutney, “the Career Center will soon be switching away from using bathroom-stall posters and instead, promoting our programs via social media, which is part of the reason we started our Facebook fan page.”
In order to eliminate the use of paper posters, however, the Career Center Facebook page needs a large amount of “likes,” meaning maximized visibility. Said Kutney, “We’re especially eager for more students to like our page and begin connecting with us!”
Like the Career Center, Lawrence’s Admissions Office is striving to broaden their social media use. The Admissions Office Calling Team consists of a diverse group of students who reach out to prospective students at varying stages of interest in attending Lawrence.
This past term, the team has utilized the Lawrence Facebook page to update prospective students on life at Lawrence from a student perspective.
“Facebook is a good resource for the prospective student to see firsthand from students what’s going on around campus,” stated Annie Vernon-Melzer ’11, a student supervisor of the Admissions Office’s calling team.
“This way, they aren’t just getting information from admissions counselors and administrative people. They are really getting the information right from students and seeing photos and hearing about events going on every week. It’s more true to what life at Lawrence is really like,” she continued.
Crowl encourages Lawrence students and student groups to utilize the university’s Facebook page. “Social media is driving new ways to communicate, and considering how much goes on here at Lawrence, that’s a good thing,” stated Crowl. “Now it’s decentralized, and you can take charge of your event.”
In an effort to make social media more convenient and appealing to students, Crowl welcomes any feedback or suggestions for Lawrence initiatives on the web.
“I have an open door policy,” continued Crowl. “Anyone can come by and if they want to try something new, I can help or point them in the right direction.”
Lawrence is in the very early stages of taking social media to the next step by building a mobile site. “We’re definitely going to start taking advantage of the fact that all of us have amazing phones,” claimed Crowl.
“Social media is still so new that it’s hard to identify where it will take us. It’s exploded so organically and I’m excited about the opportunities it gives us.