Commencement, part II

Graduation is a rare combination of hope for the future and nostalgia for the past, a moment when thousands of robed Buckeyes feel a real connection to their fellow grads, a chance to reflect on what makes Ohio State so special and dream about our grads’ futures.

For higher ed communicators, this memorable time is one of the year’s best opportunities for engagement across the Advancement continuum: It’s a universal experience for celebrating grads, reminiscing alumni and forward-looking prospective and current students.

University Communications used the excitement and energy around Commencement to share a variety of stories across several media. Some highlights:

Before the big day: On and social media, we shared the stories of three fantastic grads who received Ohio State scholarships: a field hockey star from Trinidad and Tobago; an Ohio native who started the first TEDx event in a prison; and a highly involved Atlanta native who was mentored through the Bell National Resource Center, which serves African-American male students. On Buckeye Voices, two-term USG president Taylor Stepp wrote an essay: “Ohio State: land of opportunity.” (These stories were too good not to repurpose; Editorial Communications is sharing theses stories on and Alumni Association web properties; social media; e-newsletters and onCampus. We also teased out bits and pieces to promote on social media; see this Instagram video of our field hockey star singing Carmen Ohio.)

The big day: On May 4, the order of the day was to use social media to connect with graduates and share the excitement of the ceremony in the Shoe. Our @OhioStateLive Twitter account tweeted the commencement speeches, while @OhioState shared #OSUgrad stories from grads and their families. The result: #OSUgrad trended on Sunday and into Monday.

Congrats, grads: After commencement, we posted a Facebook album where new Ohio State alumni could tag themselves. Monday content was focused on letting our new alumni tell their own stories: a web feature shared video of the grads sharing their stories and a Storify (social media compilation tool) that made use of our grads’ public Facebook, Twitter and Instagram posts. The power here was the participation: We were able to shine a spotlight on the diversity of Ohio State alumni, from student-athletes to international students to Ohio natives.

Commencement Week communications were successful because of two factors: great students and a talented, team-oriented staff in UComm. Photographers, a video producer, writers and designers worked together to effectively show the amazing opportunities Buckeyes have. It’s a fitting nod to the “family” atmosphere of commencement.

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