Loyola’s Student Government Association is reaching out to students in a whole new way this year.
SGA is using social media, the Weekly Howl , and word-of-mouth to inform students about what is happening in SGA.
When SGA President Bud Sheppard and Vice President Nate Ryther were elected at the end of last school year, they said that social media was not being utilized to its full potential.
“When I took over the Facebook page when I was elected president, we had around under 800 Facebook likes, and now we are around 1,400 Facebook likes,” Sheppard said.
Allison Rogers, SGA’s director of communication, believes that social media has helped SGA to better engage with the student body.
“This year we made a really big push to try to get more people engaged with our Facebook page, and it’s worked,” Rogers said.
Rogers said she is also amazed at how many people are tuning in each week to the Weekly Howl and subscribing to SGA’s social media accounts.
The Weekly Howl is the one minute video SGA posts each Monday to inform Loyola students about what is happening in SGA and around campus. It is formatted like a news broadcast with Sheppard as the anchor.
“People want to see what the SGA president is going to do, and at the same time, the message gets across that I’m trying to inform students about what is happening that very week,” Sheppard said.
Rogers said that this year SGA is using Twitter, Instagram and other forms of social media to engage students as well. Each week, SGA posts a #WolfOfTheWeek and #WhoDatFriday to highlight different students and members of SGA.
“Having people know who their representatives are and who is working for them is one of the most important things about having an SGA,” Rogers said.
She said that these social media outlets are helping increase SGA’s visibility.
W.H. “Butch” Oxendine, executive director and founder of the American Student Government Association said that other universities’ SGAs are not fully engaged with social media.
“Many have Facebook groups and post to Twitter, but few students are really paying attention,” Oxendine said.
Oxendine said that the best way to engage students on a college campus is in person. He suggests that SGA members survey one student a day for 10 minutes.
“It gathers information about what the students want and need, plus is the ultimate public relations tool to spread the word about SGA and show students, faculty and staff that SGA really understands the pulse of campus,” said Oxendine.
Although the Senate is small right now, Rogers said the senators are “engaging their students by word of mouth and conversations, in addition to everything we’ve been doing with social media.”
Even with all the changes that SGA has made, Rogers said there is room for improvement.
“I think we can only improve from here and kind of go at it with a heavier force from what we’re already doing,” Rogers said.
Students like Mariana Macia, mass communication sophomore, are noticing SGA’s changes in transparency and are becoming more informed.
“It’s awesome to be able to look on SGA’s Facebook page and to know what exactly is happening on campus,” Macia said.