Photos, stories and videos posted online keep alumni and community members connected to the university, while reaching new and prospective students with an authentic picture of life on campus. Over the last several years EOU has upped its social media efforts on all platforms, and a new internship position boosted its standing even further.
By December 2018, EOU outpaced all other regional and technical universities in Oregon with the fastest growing fanbase on Facebook and Instagram. Engagement with followers also reached a new high last fall, according to site analytics.
A significant part of this growth comes from the work of art and anthropology student Berenice Chavez, who served as social media intern for admissions throughout 2018-19. Her photos and posts capture campus life from a student perspective and engage alumni, students and stakeholders in university culture.
A first-generation student, Chavez’s focus on photography as an art form dovetails with an interest in documenting civilizations and customs.
“My dream is to be a National Geographic photojournalist, where I could document people and their stories in photos,” Chavez said. “This internship has given me a whole new way to apply art in modern media.”
Chavez has introduced a series of “People of EOU” posts that feature authentic stories from students. She said she takes the responsibility seriously, and seeks to balance the weightiness of academia with the lighthearted world of emojis and “likes.”
“It’s a lot of pressure to represent an institution and capture that in an image,” she said. “I play a big part because of how many people view my photos, or interact with the polls and questions I post.”
Her inaugural post on Instagram quickly became the most-liked photo EOU has ever posted on platform. Since then, she’s combined her creative approach with distinct strategy and goals.
“This is totally setting me up for success,” she said. “Now I can see myself being able to do this for another institution because I could show them the increased engagement and followers we’ve gotten this year.”
Chavez plans to complete her art capstone this spring, and wrap up her anthropology capstone next year. She said her experience as an intern has improved her confidence and enthusiasm to collaborate with a team.
“Whenever you do something new, you’re going to be scared and there are going to be challenges, but you have to just do your best,” Chavez said.