STORY BY ZACHARY BLEVINS
As if students aren’t already electronically active enough, Drake University’s Office of University Communications is encouraging students to bring campus life to Instagram.
Each week, a Drake student controls the university’s Instagram account, @onpaintedstreet, and has the opportunity to showcase his or her everyday life.
Drake Digital Media Specialist Niki Smith coordinates this project and hopes that it will reach a wide audience including Drake alumni and prospective students.
“[We] wanted to see what the student of today looks like and what campus looks like through the lens of the student. We thought this was the best way to tell that story,” Smith said.
Katie Ramsey, a junior public relations and LPS double major, was the first student to use the account. Ramsey returned to Drake this semester after studying abroad and wanted to show her excitement for returning to campus.
“I was able to channel a lot of excitement into something useful,” Ramsey said. “I think it’s a great recruitment tool for the school.”
Alumni and prospective students are taking notice. In one photo of a wintry Helmick Commons, prospective students thought Drake looked beautiful and commented that they are excited to come for a visit.
Sophomore biology major Emily Anderson had control of the account for the second week, posting pictures about her labs and time with friends. One of Anderson’s photos in Morehouse Hall brought back memories for an alumnus from 1982.
“I couldn’t have made quotes up like that myself. It was great to see that happen organically without any prompting,” Smith said in regards to alumni and perspective student comments.
Adam Graves, a junior public relations major, feels that the new project has been successful so far. Graves believes that the Drake account is doing a lot better than other universities that have similar accounts and attributes this to the “organic” nature of the photographs.
The @onpaintedstreet account has nearly 700 followers so far. “We’ve been watching another school that started it a year ago…they only have 200,” Smith said.
Smith has lined up students for each week of the spring semester and is pleased with the built in diversity of topics. Drake Student Body President Joey Gale will control the account during the Drake Relays, a member of the men’s basketball team will take it during a tournament, and a study abroad student will share life as a Drake student studying in another country.
“Everything started to fall into place and make sense,” Smith said.
Thanks to early success, Drake plans to extend this project into the fall semester and will include some students during the summer as well. Smith hopes to tap unused applicants from this semester to start planning the next stage.
Originally there were not plans to include the summer, however, Smith found a student who will be a marketing intern at the Iowa State Fair and has added them to the line-up.
Interested students can apply for one of the open weeks by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. All students are encouraged to follow @onpaintedstreet to see what life is like for other students on campus.