When prospective students first step onto Augustana’s campus, they are sure to hear about one word: community. A Twitter handle now exists that will document how that word is put into action across Augustana.
@ugieWe aims to promote the good of Augustana, and it has a mission statement comprised of statements such as “@ugieWe invest in each other,” “@ugieWe embrace diversity” and “@ugieWe make the most of this experience.”
“We’re trying to create an identity: what does it mean to be an Augie student,” Jeff Venekamp, director of student activities said. “There’s a ton of positive [here], and we need to start to lift up the positive things and the funny things—the things that are unique to Augie.”
The Twitter handle published its first tweet Nov. 1, 2013, but hibernated after only two tweets. The account essentially re-launched in March with the help of the ASA.
Student services began the @ugieWe project but hopes to pass off charge of the account to a student under the title of “@ugieWe Director of Communications.” ASA collaborated with Student Services in a search to find a suitable candidate for the position.
“We thought that it was important that somebody was behind all of it, making sure that posts are being made on a regular basis and managing the account,” ASA president Matt Anderson said.
Although the handle was not created in response to the Augie Confession page, Venekamp appreciates how @ugieWe appears to be in contrast with @AugieCon.
“I do like that this is positive and that there’s nothing degrading,” he said. “There’s nothing humiliating or embarrassing other than maybe ‘At Augie I slipped on the ice.’”
Since the handle has re-launched, tweets have been sent almost daily and nearly 250 users have followed. Students represent the bulk of @ugieWe’s Twitter followers. Developers and proponents of the account label student involvement as a key goal of the handle.
“We’re sharing our core values through it in a more personable and student-led way instead of the administration saying, ‘Here’s our core values,’” Aimee Fisher, junior ASA member, said. “It’s a way to build our community and also reach out to perspective students.”
“It’s a way for us to just generally talk about why we love being here and have a common place for that,” Anderson said. “It’s a good way for everybody to connect.”