This goes back to 2008 and yet again another post-secondary story, this time from Fanshawe
CC&PR Orientation via Social Media
Every year the Corporate Communication and Public Relations class (or half of it) at Fanshawe runs a program orientation for prospective students. I attended it the year before I entered the program and was lucky enough to be on the project the following year.
The summer before I started the program I created a Facebook Group for the 2007-2008 CC&PR class and sought out other people who were starting in the program. I was a bit of a social media nerd, so I used that to my advantage to get to know some of the people in my program before the first day of class. This kind of through the faculty off when we got to Fall Program Orientation and most of us already knew each other, which had never happened to them before. The Facebook Group was a great tool for us throughout the year. We used to it track what projects were due when, set up social outings, joke around or help each other.
So when I got put on the spring orientation project for the class of 2008-2009 I immediately thought to create a Facebook Group for them, like I had for my class. I figured it would be a great tool for those of us running orientation, for prospective students and for the actual class of 2008-2009. When I set up the group for orientation I invited current students, alumni I had connected with and Faculty. All of which were given titles in the group so prospective students would know who was faculty, who was alumni, who was a current student and who was a prospective student like themselves.
When we were drafting the invitation for the orientation we made sure to include a the name of the group and how to find it on Facebook. A number of prospective students joined the group and asked questions of the faculty, alumni and current students. It gave prospective students a real opportunity to connect with people who’d already gone through the program to get the best idea of what to expect. It also gave them an idea of the type of people they would be experiencing the program with.
When I created the group I thought it would be a great addition to the actual orientation that we were holding at the college. I figured that we’d probably have a couple join before orientation, but that many would join the group after the orientation to connect with the people they had met there. ( I know I’d wanted to connect with people after my orientation the previous year).
This was not the case at all though. The Facebook Group I created as an ‘extra’ to orientation became the orientation after London was hit with a massive snowstorm the day of the orientation. The day of the orientation the area got nailed with the worth snowstorm of the year. It took me 3 hours to drive from my house 20 minutes west of London to Fanshawe College. When I came out of the college I had to kick a path out of the snow so I could drive out of the parking lot, I drove 20km the entire way home and still ended up in the ditch.
Anyways, the day of orientation a large part of my orientation team was not able to make it through the snow and only 5 or so prospective students made it through the weather to orientation, a far cry from the 40-ish we were expecting might attend.
My team had worked so hard to put together orientation and we were upset that only 5 or so of the prospective students were able to reap the benefits of our hard work.
That’s when I really made a push for the Facebook Group I’d created. Another message was sent out to prospective students and I had the chair of our department direct potential students to the Facebook Group if they contacted her.
I spent a fair amount of time on that Facebook Group answering questions of potential students. I also discovered Slideshare during this project. Slideshare is a web-based site that allows you to upload Powerpoint presentations or PDFs for people to view (in case you are unfamiliar with it). I uploaded all of the materials my team had created for orientation to SlideShare and posted the links to the Facebook Group for people who weren’t able to make it through the snow to orientation.
I kept control of the page until the following school year started and then gave it the class of 2008-2009 to do with as they wished.
It seems like a really simple idea, and truth is it was. Levering social media, really what could be easier, but it impressed my teachers and helped the prospective students. I’ve had a couple people from the 2008-2009 class who commented on it when I met them, which was awesome.
I have recycled the idea as an alumni. I created a group on LinkedIn from Alumni from the CC&PR program. The CC&PR program is more than a decade old now and has a diverse group of alumni working in various jobs in various locations. The group hasn’t reached it’s full potential yet, but it is a great collective of alumni from the program, that I now feel like I have some form of connection to, even if it is only through LinkedIn. Hopefully once I have more stable job and feel like I have some wisdom to offer I’ll be able to spark some more conversations and really tap into the knowledge of the talented CC&PR alumni, which will hopefully help all of the alumni to keep learning and growing in our chosen profession.