After a slower January in which many schools were still on winter break, February has been a busy month for the OrcaTV team. Aside from the personal weirdness of being a Patriots fan living in Philadelphia (ask me about my friends who stole my Pats hat ON MY BIRTHDAY, please!) I’ve been working with schools to support important initiatives through the OrcaTV channel. In February, I was ecstatic to see vibrant Black History Month conversations and some creative campus events celebrating diversity and inclusion. On OrcaTV channels nationwide, campuses advertised events such as the University of Mary Washington’s Step Show, which is sponsored by the James Farmer Multicultural Center and features step teams from around the country. At Pace University, our student ambassador, Rachel, put together a breathtaking slideshow to feature fashion designs from a Pace freshman who was using fashion to inform conversations about Black History Month.
For Valentine’s Day, our Client Coordinator Brandon helped me brainstorm campaign ideas with the help of our student ambassador team. This year, we were excited to discuss Valentine’s Day using a strategy that went deeper than just hearts and chocolate.
At Johns Hopkins University, Brandon noticed a portal submission from the LGBTQ office promoting the hashtag #JHUShowYourLove. I reached out to the Director of LGBT life to spur a collaborative discussion. After concluding that a social media feed would be effective for the campaign, my team began aggregating student Instagram and Twitter posts describing all varieties of love on the Hopkins campus using #JHUShowYourLove. Then, we curated these posts based on JHU’s OrcaTV guidelines, and displayed the approved posts on screens around campus.
We ran another successful Valentine’s Day campaign at the University of New Hampshire. One Tuesday morning earlier in February, I was just being a millennial and spending way too much time scrolling through Instagram. I noticed during my scrolling that the University of New Hampshire would be promoting #UNHLove to encourage current students and alumni to share their UNH love stories. Jason Boucher, UNH’s Social Media Manager, was thrilled when I asked if we should feature the hashtag. We ran a great social feed of #UNHLove stories on both the Manchester and Durham campuses. The feed, which displayed 31 curated, approved posts, used the celebrity effect in action to drive channel viewership and encourage students to register the important conversations around “Struggle & Perseverance” or “The Harlem Perspective,” two of the Black History Month events held at UNH.
Inspired by these social media campaigns and the submissions I saw about healthy relationships, I created a short video to highlight important considerations for students on Valentine’s Day. Check out the video here. My goal was to create a concise reminder for students about what healthy relationships should include, while supporting LGBTQ populations on campuses and ensuring their voices are heard. We displayed the video at Bryant University, Central College, Clemson University, Fayetteville State, Georgia Tech, Governor’s State University, Hartwick College, Ripon College, the University of New Hampshire, Johns Hopkins University, Michigan State University, Emory University, and George Mason University.
Our last national initiative in February was an awareness campaign for National Eating Disorders Awareness (NEDA) week. Eating disorders are too prevalent among college students and continue to be the deadliest mental illnesses. We emailed our OrcaTV schools offering to display an official NEDA video describing Kesha’s experience with eating disorders (again, the celebrity effect in action!) NEDA has also created some eye-catching flyers that we displayed at twenty of our schools. At Pace Pleasantville, our student ambassador Damian partnered with the Delta Xi Epsilon on campus to run a Pace-specific outreach campaign in which students used #ANADphie to share their stories about combatting eating disorders.
As you can probably tell, I was psyched to see all of the amazing content coming through the channel. Even though life suddenly became busy again, I was excited to be out of the weird winter break lull and more importantly to see how we were able to meet students on the communication platforms they’ve already been using. Promoting strategic initiatives around Black History Month, diversity and inclusion, and health and wellness in just one short month was a big accomplishment. Stay tuned to see what we’re able to achieve in March!