Nieuws - 29 november 2012

'There's less of a barrier'

New: Social Media Team Wageningen

The social media team spreads the WURd: Thomas, Sherdina, Sara, Iris, Maaike and Sigrid.
There is a good chance you have seen them wandering around the Forum or at the Sports Night or a student party. They are the Publicity department's latest weapon: six tweeting and Facebooking students armed with iPads, who form Spread the WURd.
Thomas, Maaike, Sigrid, Sherdina, Sara and Iris formed Wageningen UR's Social Media Team at the beginning of October. Their task is to show people trying to decide which degree to go for, and where, how cool Wageningen is for an active student. They go to parties, sports events and open days, 'share' nice plans for a night out and post their experiences on Facebook. They respond to high school students' tweets on Twitter and answer their questions.
Biology student Sherdina Romney: 'We may not have the night life you get in Amsterdam or Utrecht, but Wageningen has some unique things to offer, such as Room Service. We want to show that.' Sigrid, student of Soil, Water and Atmosphere: 'Someone from Publicity can tell people that, but it is a whole lot more credible if it comes from students themselves.'
Target reached
And the students are doing well: in the space of one month the number of 'likes' on Wageningen University's Facebook page has gone up from 7000 to 9800. Thomas, student of Landscape Architecture: 'Our target was set at 10,000 likes by the end of the calendar year, our trial period. That went so easily we have moved the target. We get to continue till the end of the academic year now anyway.'
It is not too difficult to do. Communications student Maaike went to the annual Palm beer pub crawl and posted brief messages and photos on the university's Facebook page, tagging her housemates. 'Then their friends see it and you attract them to the Facebook page.' Sherdina: 'It boils down to spending eight hours a week Facebooking, brainstorming, and going to parties and meetings which we would often go to anyway. The nice thing is that you become an even more active student yourself.'
The group has lots of plans for the rest of the year. Sherdina: 'All sorts of things are possible, as long as they are relevant to high school students and people choosing a university.'  Ideally, the students would like to see the Social Media Team being given a permanent place in the university's publicity formula. Master's student Iris, who keeps the Twitter account up to date together with Sara: 'High School students find it easier to ask us questions. There is less of a barrier when you are talking to a student. A dialogue often develops, and you think along with them. That is nice for someone trying to choose what and where to study. It really makes them feel that they are being listened to.'