“Smile, you’re in the selfie zone.”
The bright red floor stickers appeared overnight Sept. 17 all over City and East Campus, inviting UNL students, faculty and staff to snap their picture with campus icons. Also appearing from seemingly nowhere were 2,500 hidden treats, waiting for students to snatch them up.
Those surprises along with many others scattered throughout the day were part of the social media campaign #UNL24, which aims to tell the story of a day in the life of the university, as well as build goodwill with students, organizer Tyler Thomas said.
“The goal of #UNL24 is to create a spike in social media activity and to build positive feelings about the university for the students,” Thomas, UNL’s social media coordinator, said. “We’re interacting with them and reinforcing that we care about them.”
This is the third year for the campaign, and while many of the components were similar to past years’ events, Thomas said the promotion for #UNL24 differed this year. Instead of alerting students to the campaign days in advance, Thomas worked with campus communicators and advisers to “surprise and delight” students. Even Chancellor Harvey Perlman was in on the action, posting clues to “PerlPrizes” every hour, on the hour on Twitter.
“I think that brought an even more positive response this year and it helped mitigate the trolls that have tried to insert themselves negatively into the day,” Thomas said.
The students were definitely enjoying the day, as evidenced in many posts to UNL’s Twitter, Instagram and Facebook accounts.
“Reason #2 why I love UNL: FREE STUFF! Like this granola bar, handed to me as I was walking to class #theygetme #unl24,” Hillary S. posted.
“#UNL24 makes me so grateful today to have picked a college that cares so much about all of their students,” Ashton Mazour wrote.
New this year to the campaign is Humans of UNL, a feature similar to Humans of New York and something that Thomas hopes to make a weekly part of UNL’s social media presence. Also new was a surprise coffee and hot cocoa delivery to the Cornhusker Marching Band from The Coffee House after its early rehearsal.
“The band is one of the only organizations that has members from every college on campus, so it represents the broadest range of students,” Thomas said.
The event has grown each year, and Thomas expects that trend to continue. From the feeds he monitored, he estimated the number of students participating was up – and that they were having fun.