Oklahoma Higher Education Campus E-Clips sponsored by the Communicators Council

August 2010

Beyond Facebook - Oklahoma State University Creates OKStateU 1.0 Custom Social Site for Incoming Students

 

Oklahoma State University has turned to social media to enhance the transition to college life, creating OKStateU 1.0 (www.okstateU.com/2010), a social site for all incoming students.

"Making the physical transition to university life can be intimidating for new students so we started the process where they are most comfortable, online and in the comfort of their own home,” said Lee Bird, OSU Vice President of Student Affairs.

OKStateU 1.0 acts much like Facebook, allowing students to create profiles, share updates and photos, or become members of interactive groups and participate in forum discussions. Most important, it creates a safe environment for incoming freshmen and transfer students to connect to each other.

The site also is used to share information about upcoming events such as Welcome Week, which introduces students to campus and OSU traditions. However, the primary use of the site has been to serve as a gathering place for conversation, allowing students to get to know each other and ask for help in making decisions common for new students.

“It was a great way for me to meet friends that share my same majors and interests,” said Spring, Texas, incoming freshman Keath Aaron Vickery. “It was a nice platform for jumping into the OSU community.”

Bird said, “Students from all over the U.S. are connecting with each other, sharing information about class schedules and what to bring, finding others with similar interests, and also sharing their future plans, summer happenings and excitement about attending OSU. The site also provides a direct avenue for students to ask questions of university staff 24 hours a day.”

Since launching in May, more than 1,500 incoming students have registered an account with OKStateU 1.0 and because of the excellent response and interaction among students, the site will continue after the semester begins.

“All the content on the site so far has been student driven,” said Bird. “We have given them a way to discuss topics they want to discuss when they want to discuss them and in return our office is learning how we can better serve the new students at OSU and keep them excited about coming and staying in college.”

Membership to the site is limited to students accepted to OSU and the site has guidelines for use. Students who join the site are automatically registered for “Welcome Week” August 18-23. The OSU fall semester begins Monday, Aug. 23.

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