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Takeover Tuesday: Showing real student experiences through Snapchat

Takeover Tuesday

Showing the student experience has always been important, and social media is a perfect platform to do it.

That’s why so many colleges and universities around the country have a Twitter account dedicated to student takeovers. There are great examples of students running Instagram accounts, too, like this one from St. Lawrence University.

In an effort to expand our own content on Snapchat and showcase that authentic student experience, we developed “Takeover Tuesday,” which allows one student to run our WestVirginiaU Snapchat account each Tuesday during the school year.

To start, we picked students who we knew and trusted (they’re taking over our University Snapchat after all). They showed what life was like through their eyes as a student at our University. Each student has put their own spin on the opportunity, so there’s a bit of diversity in the content each week.

In our first week, we featured an upperclassman in the engineering program, Ruth Williams, and she took us behind the scenes in her classes, answered a handful of questions posed to her by prospective students and even threw in a few jokes to keep it light and relatable.

In our second week, we featured one of our campus tour guides, Brady Smith, and he went a different route, showcasing some of the different clubs and organizations around campus and answering a few other questions that were more specific to campus life.

“Takeover Tuesday allowed me a unique opportunity to interact with Mountaineer Nation, from current students, to prospective students and even alumni,” Smith said. “It was a great experience and allowed me 24 hours to show people what WVU has brought to me and hopefully showcase what WVU can do for you.”

Just last week, junior honors biology major Layne Veneri took charge of our Snapchat for 24 hours. Download his Takeover Tuesday Snapchat Story here.

“I wanted to show how, as a student, you can make time for studying, friends, exploring and having fun; and that it wasn’t impossible to do it all if you set your mind to it,” Veneri said. “Really, if I touched the life of one student out there: to make them work harder, go explore Morgantown or get more involved, then I did my job during my 24 hour reign of the WVU Snapchat … I loved interacting with people I would have never met otherwise, some from literally around the globe.”

So far, we’ve found this to be a huge hit with our Snapchat followers.

The reason why we think it works so well is the platform itself. Not only is Snapchat one of the most popular platforms for current and prospective students right now, but it’s also more personal and visual than the other ones you use.

“Allowing students to take over for the University is perfect; the students make up what the University is and represents and there is no better way to truly and honestly show that then letting students ‘takeover’ the various accounts,” Veneri said.

We’ve even expanded this idea to our football Saturdays, in which we let a different student takeover our account for each home game. We’ve tried to find students who experience the game from different angles (a band member, a feature twirler, a student media member, a super fan in the student section, etc.). With seven games on the home schedule, we would’ve ended up having a very similar Snapchat Story each game if we did it ourselves, but this helps expand our content.

Allowing students to run official university accounts can be a risk. We've found it to be much more of a reward, especially as we try to show the many alternate perspectives of campus life here at WVU. 

Do you want to see what a Takeover Tuesday looks like? Follow us on Snapchat (WestVirginiaU) and experience the next one.

And if you're a WVU student and want to takeover our Snapchat on a Tuesday, you can apply here