Slippery Rock University developed a Twitter account, @srustudents, which features SRU students who live tweet their experiences for a week in order to give other students, staff and faculty an insight on the average student’s life.
The Twitter page was first created by the Online Design and Communication Specialist at SRU and account supervisor, Kayla Hersperger, who learned about similar concepts at other universities and wanted to implement a student-run Twitter account at Slippery Rock University.
Hersperger teamed up with Felicia McKinney, graduate assistant in enrollment management to launch the account as well as the daily maintenance. Both women worked out a contract and application for the student tweeters and collaborated on the training presentation that is given to the selected student of the week.
“I look for a range of majors, interests, extracurricular involvement and personality when choosing the tweeters,” McKinney said. “I want students who are excited about social media and sharing their SRU experience.”
The primary goal of the account is to showcase the current student experience to prospective SRU students. As a recruitment tool, @srustudents aims to give prospective students an inside look to what student life is like, and that goal is best fulfilled by current students sharing their unique, authentic perspectives.
“We never tell students what to say; our goal is not to portray SRU as a perfect institution,” McKinney said. “We want the good and the bad.”
Stephen Rickard, senior journalism major, said the SRU social media team has done a good job with keeping up with the Twitter account and picking the candidates for the account.
“They gave me the chance to have the voice of our students for a week and I did my best to run with it. I had so much fun,” he said.
Rickard was one of the more successful students tweeters of the account, receiving over 300 likes on one picture and over 100 retweets on one post.
Senior communications major and current student tweeter, Samantha Jambor, explained that she wants to be able to share the secret side of SRU to her audience.
“It’s such a cool platform that I’ve been given to discuss the nooks and crannies of SRU, such as the weird and small clubs that no one knows about, like The Harbor and Slam Poetry Club,” Jambor said.
Before taking their role, all student tweeters have the opportunity to meet with Hersperger to discuss the week as the student tweeter.
“Her goal for the account is for students’ true voices to be heard,” Jambor said.
Both Jambor and Rickard said that the @srustudents account will open the student tweeter’s eyes to a whole new side of themselves that they never knew about before.
“I seemed to be more creative that week than I ever usually am,” Rickard said. “The students interacting with me and having fun while I ran the account motivated me to be that way.”
Since every student has a different story, each student takes a unique approach to their week filled with tweets.
“Every single person that has taken over the account has done an absolutely fantastic job, so I wanted to try and do something different to see what would happen,” Rickard said.
Jambor also is taking a different approach to her tweets by informing her audience of the thoughts she has about SRU and her involvement in clubs and classes.
“I love art and my faith is extremely important to me, so I want students to be influenced by those two facets of my life,” Jambor said. “I hope students get to see that there are so many things at SRU they may not know about.”
Both tweeters encourage students to apply in order to engage themselves around campus and have their voice be heard.
“This account gives us the best marketing tool we have, which is to showcase our current students who are so unique and doing incredible things here at Slippery Rock University,” McKinney said.