Not all catchy hashtags are to get more likes on Instagram; some can be to get more people on campus.
Current students, as well as prospective ones, are the target audience for a new social media campaign. Its called #UStayFor and was created by the department of Student Leadership and Engagement (SLE). The goal is to keep students involved on campus. After-hours events, clubs, sporting events and other activities are documented on social media with the hashtag with the hopes that students will contribute their own media.
Though the campaign was officially announced on Jan. 22, SLE-managed social media accounts have almost exclusively used the hashtag so far on Twitter and Instagram.
The SLE Twitter account advertised the College Players production of “Into the Woods” with a post that read “#UStayFor Musicals,” a talk with Student Organization Consultants with “#UStayFor Support” and the recent spring involvement fair with “#UStayFor the People”.
“It’s not just job opportunities and internships,” Sumie Maw said, who is involved with the campaign. “We also want students to utilize what the school is already giving. Like #UStayFor going just for the church or [#UStayFor] seeking out CAPS [Counseling and Psychological Services] [and] everything. That’s why the #UStayFor is so inclusive, [it is] not just about clubs and orgs, it’s showcasing your passion. #UStayFor art, #UStayFor musical theater, #UStayFor updates on the news.”
The hashtag was created in an SLE department meeting where staff discussed how to build a stronger sense of community on campus. Amie Lu, a student who also works for SLE’s marketing team, said they are hoping to make students aware of opportunities they may not know about and draw more attention to resources where they can find out more.
The push for more student engagement is a reaction to what Maw described as a lack of school spirit at USF. She believes this has to do with both a lack of residence halls to centralize students, as well as low student engagement in attending athletics events. She compared USF to the University of California, Berkeley, and San Francisco State University, where she said students demonstrate more spirit and suggested USF’s smaller community might prevent students from feeling as passionate about athletics.
To get past these obstacles and achieve a higher level of school spirit, Maw said the students must pave the way for each other.
“Things can’t change in a snap,” Maw said, “But one of the visions for this campaign is promoting school spirit in general.” She said she hopes that this hashtag will help encourage spirit to be passed down from upperclassmen to underclassmen, who may be inspired by seeing that the students before them “really respected this space in the sense [of] school spirit,” she said.
Staff writer Corey Kowalczyke contributed to the reporting in this article.