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Syracuse University launches student-run Instagram account

Courtesy of SU Photo & Imaging Center

@OurSyracuseU, Syracuse University's new, student-run Instagram account, gained about 1,000 followers 24 hours after launching on Jan. 25.

Syracuse University recently launched @OurSyracuseU, a new student-run Instagram account.

The purpose of @OurSyracuseU is to show the SU experience through the eyes of its students, said Maren Guse, the assistant director of digital and social media for SU News. The account is meant to complement the university’s leading Instagram account, @SyracuseU, Guse said.

The account was officially launched on Jan. 25 with contributing photographs from Student Association President Aysha Seedat.

“I developed the idea for this account based on some of the other successes we’ve had with our @SyracuseU Instagram account,” Guse said.

Within 24 hours after the account’s launch, it gained 1,000 followers, Guse said. While the other SU accounts promoted @OurSyracuseU, Guse said the growth was mostly due to promotion through word of mouth.

Guse oversees the account, recruits students to run it and trains and guides them for their week on the account.

The training is essentially some guidelines for the students. Guse said she wants them to share their involvement in different classes and organizations and what their day-to-day life at SU is like.

“I thought it would just be another great way to connect students, our prospective students (and) our alumni with the day-to-day life of Syracuse University,” Guse said. “I thought it would be another way to show more of an authentic view of the (university) that is curated directly from our students.”

Guse said she hopes followers of @OurSyracuseU will learn more about SU and feel more connected to the campus community through the experiences of students on the account — from classes they may not have known about, to student organizations that might interest them, to what day-to-day life is like for students in different schools and majors.

Even Guse was able to learn something new when a student posted that the SU Abroad office offers a backpacking course.

Last semester the university did a pilot of the account with four students who had been on #44Social — SU’s student social media team — or had worked with it in the past, Guse said.

Leah Strassburg, a junior public relations major, was a part of the account’s pilot while she was studying abroad and said it was a great experience for her.

“For me it was just nice to share my perspective, and everyone has got a different experience here, so we all have something to contribute here,” Strassburg said. “And I like looking at everyone else’s accounts and finding new places.”

Over the past few years, Guse said she has seen tremendous growth of the @SyracuseU Instagram account. She recognized the growing popularity of the platform among students — and increasingly all ages — and noticed that photos reposted from current students were often very popular among the account’s followers.

“From this, we saw a valuable opportunity to deepen our involvement with the platform and strengthen our connection with followers,” Guse said.

The account is currently looking for engaged and involved students from all schools and majors to apply for consideration to take over the account, Guse said. There is an application and interview process, followed by training for selected students — similar to the process for #44Social, which Guse also oversees.

There are things that are specific to the student experience that can only be portrayed by a student, which provides a certain level of transparency, said Jennifer Grygiel, an assistant professor in the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications who specializes in social media.

“Whatever the process is for picking students to run the handle (is) really representative of the student body,” Grygiel said.

Grygiel added that it would be a good idea to allow students to not only apply, but also nominate somebody who they find to be engaging or interesting to run the page.


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