Let me first get this fun fact out of the way – Yes, I am 100% Italian-American, and yes I was an active member in the Filipino club at Fordham University while I was in college. I love that the Filipino culture is based around the ideal of family – and that family is anyone who wants to be included. Salamat to my favorite student organization for making me who I am.
Every year, D3 (our district of Filipino clubs) hosts two pageants: Mr. PI and Ms. PI, at NYU and Rutgers, respectively. Each participating club sends one of their members to the competitions, which include talent, dancing, traditional wear, Q&A, etc portions. There was always an overarching theme for the event and photoshoots beforehand. It was the real deal, and took a whole Saturday. I am proud to say that I got to watch two of our members win each pageant in one year!
One of the qualifications for the crown was the Hashtag Wars. Each contestant had a hashtag [#TeamNAME], and whoever got the most buzz on Twitter was considered the winner of that round. This simple use of Twitter promotes student engagement for the clubs in several ways:
Within the club
Even the members of our organization who didn’t want to help make posters or costumes could easily pitch in to bring home the win, simply by tweeting the heck out of the hashtag. It’s a low effort way to make sure everyone gets involved towards the goal of winning.
Within the campus
Obviously, even students on campus who aren’t members of the club could easily get in on the hashtag action, especially friends of the contestant. Those who see the hashtag in their feed because all their Filipino friends (honorary included) were tweeting the same thing might ask questions. Bam! The club is on their radar, while it may not have been before.
Within the district
Nothing like a little friendly competition to make connections. The hashtags are a way to keep the different clubs interacting with each other before the actual event. The more invested you feel leading up to the day, the more involved you will be when you are in a room with a thousand people you don’t know (yet).
After I graduated, I remember consistently tweeting #TeamJavi for the contestant going to the pageant that year. I didn’t even know him, but my loyalty to my old club meant that he was family and I needed to help him win. Online engagement keeps alumni in the loop, as well, which makes reunions easier to navigate when meeting the students you never shared classes with.
I think common goals are one of the best ways to create a “team” feeling in an organization. Something as low-risk as a hashtag can ease anyone into feeling comfortable within the group, later on.
This post is part of our #App2Campus series, which aims to share ideas for using mobile to drive student engagement on campus. We will hear from all kinds of #SApros who have used phone technology to foster a sense of community and connection between the students, face to face. For more information, please see Sabina’s intro post. Be sure to check out other posts in this series.