“How does the digital climate on campus affect the actual campus environment? How does social media influence our campus?”
“Researchers in my area reject a dichotomy between “online” vs. “offline”. We think of interactions as being mediated through different information technologies, but because a communication occurs in social media doesn’t make it less real than other forms of communication. Different social media tools have such different features, they can be thought of very separately. YikYak plays a different role on campus than does Venmo, than does Instagram. Social media shapes interaction on our campus by reducing barriers to communication, which can have both positive and negative effects. We see a wide range of both help and harm from our campus social media. Sometimes it drives us apart, but more often I hope it brings us together, provides voice to those who often struggle to be heard, enrich our understanding of people who are different from us, and provides support in the reminder that we all have common ground. But that’s up to us.
I believe social media can be a tool for creating a better world, but like all tools the outcomes are based on how we use it. I’m standing in from of a Blue bus because I’m going with a group of student interaction designers to work with the city of Jackson to create new information tools and applications that can be used to improve the services Jackson offers to people, and to help people find new ways to express their civic lives in Jackson. I’m blown away by the passion and creativity of the undergraduates and graduate students in this class, and what they are doing. This is one small example, for me, of how not only can social media tools be used to create a better world, but how the university can be of service to those around us.”
Hosted 11 dynamic #UMichChat panels which highlighed everything from innovation to activism. The engaging live dialogues now trend regionally on a monthly basis.
|January||Student Life with Royster Harper|
|February||Innovation & Entrepreneurship (Kelly LaPierre, Thomas Zurbuchen, Jeffrey Sorensen, David Merritt, & Michael Finney)|
|April||Violence, Crime, and Social Media (Cliff Lampe, Desmond Patton, Detective Sergeant Boike, Eric Strauss)|
|May||“The King of Twitter” John Dingell’s wisdom on a lifetime of service|
|June||“Students at UMich”|
|July||“Forever Go Blue” Alumni|
|August||‘Activism and Racial Education’: A discussion of Between the World and Me, written by Ta-Nehisi Coates|
|Sept.||Welcome hoMe: Resources and advice for a new school year/Feature with President Schlissel (Lindsay Haas, Kyle Stefek, Michael Joiner-Hill)|
|October||Introducing Intraoperative Neuromonitering (Emily Matthews, Josh Mergos, Stephanie Schwartz)|
|Nov.||#GivingBlueday (Katherine Kowalski, Michael Reed, Ashley Howard/Madison Graver)|
|Dec.||Revamping HigherEd in 140 Characters (Matt Adams, Andrew Martin, Aswin Punathambeker)|
Provided coverage and promoted collaborative engagement at 34 different presentations and events through #UMichTalks. The hashtag has been widely adopted across campus, allowing our collective audiences unprecedented access and coverage to important events and timely topics.
|2/4 Jessy Grizzle||2/10 Roderick Little||2/20 Tyree Guyton||2/23 Tamas Gombosi||3/13 Corey Booker|
|3/16 CEO of WebMD||3/19 The Big Picture of Small Things||3/23 Rosalind||3/27 Teach-In +50||4/1 Victor Lieberman|
|4/6 Christin Carter-Su||4/7 The Man Behind The Sandwich, Ari Weinzweig||4/10 The Innovation of Tomorrow: A White House Insider’s Guide||4/13 Higher Education Work For Low-Income Students||5/15 Ford School Academic Engagement Conference|
|6/1 Wellespring||7/30 Diary of a Young Girl||8/5 UROP Symposia||8/14 Bridge Ceremony||9/15 Big Data|
|9/25 Entrepalooza||10/1 JSB Symposia||10/5 Michigan Institute for Data Science Kick-Off Symposium||10/8 Orchestras in the 21st Century: A New Paradigm||10/13 Piper Kerman|
|10/15 “Can College Make You Smarter?”||10/22 #sumit15||10/27 Talk it Up||11/2 Prechter Lecture||11 U-M Diversity Summit|
|11/24 Cybersecurity||12/1 Historic presentation||12/10 Gamefication and Education||12/18 LSA Honors|
UMSocial continues to lead the pack in Snapchat storytelling among higher education institutions. Inquires for consultation on the network far outweighed any other requests received by the office in the 2015 calendar year. Stories and feature opportunities have become a key strategy in everyone’s social planning and across departments; and collaborations have replaced traditional outreach efforts such as email. In total, 63 different ephemeral stories were told. The growing popularity also gave birth to the creation of regular content takeovers and weekly features like LSA Tuesdays and Arts and Culture Thursdays. Additionally each story was downloaded and made available in a YouTube playlist.
|Geofilter Campaign||Snap-a-versary (One Year on Snapchat) Blog Post||Dress that Squirrel||Travelocity Roaming Gnome||SpringFest|
|MRelay||Michigan Engineering Design Expo||Dance Marathon||WinterFest – #1 Public University||LSA Major/Minor Expo|
|#ABrighterBlue||TedX||Spring Commencement||Spring Term||National Best Friends Day|
|#AskUMich||#WolverineSummer||Shakespeare in the Arb||4th of July-GeoFilter Curation||Swing Dancing at the Cube|
|Tour of UMMA||Educational Theatre Company||Tour of Kelsey Museum||Taubman Museum||New Student Convocation|
|International Academy Open House||Stay In the Blue||World Suicide Prevention Day||Send Silence Packing||Game Day Spirit|
|So Just, So Fair||International Institute||Career fair||Banned Books exhibit||SMTD homecoming|
|Homecoming game||‘Waiting in line’ UMHS Organ Donor Awareness||Law, Justice, and Society minor (w/ LSA)||Safe drinking PSA||#MakeHealthFest2015|
|POP X||Diversity Summit||Big House blood drive||Wheelchair basketball||Exploring the Institute for the Humanities|
|MUSKET ‘Spring Awakening’||LSA: ‘Snapchat makes you happy”||Comm Dept Entertainment Media Forum||LSA: Research in EEB (sweet potatoes)||Hail Mail promotion|
|SQUEST||Michigan vs OSU||Galens Tag Days||Michigan’s best dance crew||Amcult hula performance|
|Kevorkian Collection at Bentley||Emoji Snowflakes||Study Tips||“Night Before Winter Break” video preview||New Year’s graphic|
|Bowl Game snap|
Introduced an entire new suite of expanded campus geo-filters, including many limited-edition filters for special events and the first filter to be provided at all three University of Michigan campuses (Ann Arbor, Flint, and Dearborn)
North Campus, Central (2), Big House Stadium, Big House Helmet, Medical Campus, Homecoming (2), Welcome Week (2), MGoGrad (2) and Giving Blue Day
To capitalize on the continued growth of Instagram in 2015, UMSocial introduced a number of new efforts aimed at diversifying our content offerings and showcasing the breadth and depth of our university programing. Instagram ambassador takeovers and Saturday Michigan News videos are appearing on a monthly and weekly basis. Leveraging this new regular content we also implemented a daily theme that spans all seven day of the week and increased our content on takeover weeks to two posts each day.
|T-Shirt giveaway at WinterFest||Cold Day Gear giveaway|
|Ann Arbor iPhone Case giveaway||Tinder Valentine’s Day Spoof|
|Spring Break Selfie Promo||LSA Major/Minor Expo Hyperlapse|
|Dear Wolverine (Depression Center)||#AlwaysLSA event coverage|
|Share your cap w/ #MyUMCap Contest||#AlwaysUMich|
|Common concert video||Behind-the-scenes Commencement|
|Ambassador: Jordan Katz||Ambassador: Eric Bronson|
|‘This Week’s Headlines’||‘On Assignment’ with #umicheeb|
|Ambassador: Emily Schieffer||Ambassador: Engineering Ethiopia collaboration|
|Ambassador: Austin Thomason||Ambassador: Career Center|
|Ambassador: UMHS Lead cancer doctor||Ambassador: Ginsberg Center|
|Ambassador: Giving Blueday||Ambassador: Library collective|
|Ambassador: UMHS Ghana Collaboration||Holiday Motion Graphics|
|Wolverines of Ann Arbor|
Facebook’s slowed growth and aging demographic presented many negative content results in 2014. To combat the negative environment of the platform and encourage more proactive and positive online dialogue, UMSocial created a number of new campaigns in 2015. Our most popular programs continue to be Michigan Mondays, which provide an opportunity to inspire our audiences with quotes by prominent or unknown alumni, students, and university stakeholders; and Wolverines of Ann Arbor, which has become a powerful platform for depicting diversity and sharing personal narratives. As with Instagram, we have also partnered with other units (LSA, UMHS, and the Bentley) to share themed content on a given day. Lastly, we have seen great success with embedded video, gifs, and photo albums (Michigan Photography).
|Photo of the Week||Michigan Monday||Health||WOAA||Bentley||LSA||Global|
|Valentine’s Day photo submissions/album and graphic||Video: “Messages of Hope” Depression Center|
|National Reading Month/Women’s History Month content||Promotion of Yik Yak Pledge|
|Spring Commencement album||Video: Music Matters|
|Michigan Softball championship||Mothers Day/Fathers day|
|Album: President’s trip to China||Album: President’s trip to China|
|“Calling all poets” Call to action to write a Michigan poem||Video: #WolverineSummer|
|Album: #InternDetroit||Wolverines of Ann Arbor|
|Album: New Student Convocation||Album: Open House|
|Album: myhoMecoming||Album: #UMichMoments|
|Album: Game Days|
UMSocial led a concentrated effort in 2015 to streamline the U-M Pinterest presence across all departments, campuses, and organizations. The amount of content required to properly maintain a robust Pinterest account, and the layout of the network itself, led to the absorption of many erroneous accounts. These efforts not only strengthened our brand presence but also alleviated the burden of updates for many smaller departments and organizations.
|Michigan Squirrels (Squirrel Appreciation Day)||Absorbed College of LSA|
|Absorbed Recreational Sports||#MGoGrad Bucket List|
|Introduced Promoted Pins with Blog Post||Spring at #UMich|
|Summer at #UMich||Absorbed School of Information|
|Absorbed School of Public Health||New Students at Michigan|
|Absorbed Michigan Dining||Absorbed University Housing|
|STEAM at Michigan/#GirlsWithToys (Efforts with us and LSA)||Absorbed Ginsberg Center|
Visuals are critical to social content. First it was images, then memes, and now short engaging video or gifs. In 2015 UMSocial sought to streamline our YouTube footprint and create more dynamic, regular content. By absorbing accounts, we helped content be better recognized; and by creating short videos on timely topics, we created top performing or searched for content. Lastly, we made a conscious effort to better package long ceremonial and event video coverage, thereby substantially increasing content views and shares.
|Your Moment: Graduation Hype Video||Snapchat playlist|
|Messages of Hope||Major/Minor Expo|
|Spring Fest Video||2015 Spring Commencement Recap|
|2015 Spring Commencement Package (Zingerman’s, President, Dean of LSA, Engineering Commencement)||Softball Hype Video|
|FIFA Scandal||Rec Sports|
|InsideTheM: Michigan Dining||Lake Erie Algae (Michigan News)|
|Mexico Coffee (Michigan News)||Ghana (Michigan News)|
|Dow Global Impact Series||Diversity is…|
|“What is an Indian”||“The Night before Winter Break”|
New social networks appear every day, but few have caused such an uproar in higher education as Yik Yak. After publishing an initial evaluation of the platform in 2014, UMSocial chose to advocate for personal responsibility and proactive online dialogues on the network. Following a potential suicide threat published within the Ann Arbor Yik Yak feed, we rallied with students to show support and promote available resources. After a successful positivity pledge campaign, Yik Yak reached out to us and we partnered to created their first university-wide branded community ‘Hail Mail.’ Content for Hail Mail is created by our first Yik Yak-dedicated student intern in collaboration with our award-winning campus newspaper staff and our Office of Student Life. Additionally, UMSocial now pulls daily ‘Yaks’ and incorporates them into our Twitter streams and a ‘Yak’ of the week that is published on our Instagram. By educating our users on the platform, recognizing their contributions, and creating a steady flow of resources and information on a platform we know they regularly use, we have thus far alleviated many of the large-scale issues that many other universities have encountered at the hand of unchecked anonymity.
In Collaboration With…
Social content is stronger when we leverage the collective. The relationships UMSocial built in 2014 enabled the creation of a strong leadership team of cross campus social media communicators. In collaboration we were able to tell bigger, bolder stories, bring better resources to fruition and set brand goals.
Squirrel Appreciation Day: Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest, @UmichStudents
#1 Public University Video/Promo
Messages of Hope
Photos of the Week: Instagram, FB, Twitter
National Best Friends day: Snapchat, Twitter
#WolverineSummer: Snapchat, Youtube, Facebook, Instagram
Dubsmash: Instagram, Twitter
Fourth of July geo-filter campaign: Snapchat, Twitter
#STEAM/GirlswithToys: Throwbacks on FB, Twitter, Pinterest Board
Collaborative efforts with the Career Center
Collaborative efforts with Michigan Photography
Collaborative efforts with News Service: Retweeting Content, Instagram Takeover, Weekly Headlines Instagram Videos
Social Media R&D: Developing key skills to become a successful social media manager
Social Media Vending Machine—Fall 2015
National Media Of Honor
Health and Wellness: Stay in the Blue
#myhomecoming: Snapchat stories, Instagram content, encouraging hashtag usage
By examining the way content performs on a given platform and studying our demographics and how they engage with content on each network, UMSocial often tailors a single content theme across channels uniquely. In 2015 we relied frequently upon our storytelling initiatives to help us provide video in one place, still images in another, live tweeting or interactive dialogue hosting in another—then lastly, looping back home to our website for a full summary recaps of efforts.
|Michigan’s 178th Birthday||Springfest|
|GEazy Concert||Spring Commencement|
|New Services Content via Instagram||Softball Championship: FB and Twitter|
|LinkedIn | Showcase pages||CCRB remodel: Snapchat, Youtube, FB Video|
|Mcity Dedication: Snapchat, Twitter (Live-tweet), Instagram Video, Pinterest||#InternDetroit: FB photo album, Twitter|
|Vending Machine: Photos on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter. Snapchat, YouTube||U-M v. MSU: Snapchat PSA, Safe drinking WOAA, Alternative tailgate advertising|
|Homecoming: Snapchat, Starkid #UmichChat, #myhoMecoming Instagram, Facebook||UM vs OSU: Instagram post, FB album|
|Giving Blueday: UMichChat, Instagram Takeover, UMichStudent student tweeter||Diversity Summit: Snapchat Story, #UMichTalks|
Our website turned one in February of 2015, celebrating a year of providing resources and information to our peers who have recognized it as a pillar of best practice within higher education. The most-viewed blog posting of the year was of course our in-depth case study of the hacking of three of our athletics Facebook pages. Praised for its transparency and timeliness, socialmedia.umich.edu has evolved into a site that not only provides internal or higher ed communicators’ resources, but which also curates and explores the best and worst of social media for all.
|#UMSocial’s Most A-Maize-Ing Campaigns||Yik Yak Pledge|
|Monthly Recaps||#UMichChat Recaps|
|Major/Minor Expo: LSA Collaboration||How #UMSocial uses Slack|
|TedXUofM Coverage+||#GoBlueDhabi Guest Blog|
|Squirrel Appreciation Day||Michigan Dining Guest Blog|
|Instagram Use Among Incoming Students||Instagram Ambassador Program|
|Wolverines of Ann Arbor Monthly Recaps||Social Vending Machine|
|New Semester, New Geofilters!||Linkedin for Higher Ed|
|Pumpkin Stencils||One year of #UMichChat|
|Printable Ornaments||WOAA yearly wrap-up|
|Hacked: A Case Study||Year in Review|
With the formation of the UMSocial Leadership Team in 2015, we were able to really begin to update and adopt many overarching strategies and best practices across campus. The guidelines, procedures, and tools ensure all accounts properly represent the university and our brand from conception to fruition. Supporting a unified approach to social media strategy, content creation, and analytics ensures quality communications across every platform and provides a clearer view of our return on investment.
Facebook Best Practices
LinkedIn Showcase Pages
Protecting the Brand
Reporting Best Practices
YouTube Best Practices
Social Leadership Team
Social Leadership Meetings
Orientation packet materials distribution
Monthly Analytics Reports (President Schlissel, LSA, Bentley, UMHS, & Global)
Implementation of Proactive Listening Platform – Digital Roots
Creation of Monthly Workshops
Establishment of Bi-weekly consultations (LSA, Athletics, UMHS)
Implementation of Amplify
Facebook continues to evolve as it aims to serve as the primary medium for connecting billions of people across the globe. In 2015, #UMSocial sought to elevate the tone of the U-M Facebook communities’ dialogue, provide a robust selection of all-encompassing content, and educate those who ‘Like’ us with thought-provoking features. The introduction of “Michigan Mondays” enabled us to showcase a prominent alumnus, faculty, or stakeholder each week, paired with an inspirational quote or context of achievement. The campaign incorporates the #MotivationMonday concept, inviting individuals to not only share in the acknowledgment of these leaders and best, but to share the uplifting message with others. Each image is also coordinated with national campaigns such as Black History Month or timely movements like #ILookLikeAnEngineer. Mid-year, we introduced our own version of personal narrative storytelling, “Wolverines of Ann Arbor” (WOAA). The ongoing campaign is modeled after the popular Humans of New York (HONY) series. WOAA allows us to showcase the voices of our community, from students to staff to faculty to fans. Like HONY, the impact of this content has reverberated with many, producing media articles and, in 2016, a potential gallery series.
#UMSocial plans to continue to explore new ways to engage our audiences and encourage positive online dialogue in the coming year, while also setting our sights on surpassing one million “Likes.”
Take a look back at our Top 5 highest performing Facebook posts in 2015:
5. U-M claims one of (if not the) largest alumni bases in the world. In 2015, an intentional effort was made to create content that recognize various holidays and milestones celebrated by our diverse and robust community. This included Lunar New Year, Diwali, Ramadan, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and Christmas. Toward the latter part of the year, these “best wishes” messages evolved into animated gifs, which our community truly enjoyed. More than half a million people (551,491) received our Merry Christmas gif, which garnered 18,249 likes, comments, and shares.
4. As Wolverines, we are truly grateful for the amazing opportunity to call a world-class institution home. The concept of Michigan as ‘hoMe’ echoes throughout many of our social media campaigns, instilling a sense of pride and nostalgia. As Wolverines gathered around their tables with family and friends to celebrate Thanksgiving, we offered greetings from our ‘Big House’ to theirs. The post registered with 663,367 thankful community members and saw 27,763 likes, comments, and shares.
3. We recognize both Michigan moms and dads each year for all they do, but it was moms by far that captured the hearts of our followers. We like to think that our Mother’s Day post prompted all 792,064 of the users it reached to spread the love and gratitude to their mothers as well. The 35,731 likes, comments, and shares it received helped secure its spot as the third most popular post of 2015.
2. Game days are always great for content, but this post offered a unique spin. A very special young man, and an enormous fan of our #1 conference rival The Ohio State University received a lifesaving operation at the U-M Health System’s C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital in 2015. His most pressing concern: would the doctors make his heart love maize and blue? Not only did this adorable kid and heartwarming story captivate 867,811 loyal Facebook fans, it also bridged rivalries and brought communities together. The post was liked, commented on, and shared 22,127 times.
1. Befitting U-M’s #1 status in the Big Ten, our post reflecting that ranking is also our #1 most popular content piece of 2015. Wolverines everywhere joined us in celebrating the recognition of U-M as the 22nd most prestigious higher educational institution in the world. Over 1.3 million people (1,327,415) saw the accolades, and 44,624 joined in liking, sharing, or commenting on the content.
Collectively, the U-M page reached over 75 million Facebook users in 2015, providing 1.5 million impressions, 1.1 million comments, and nearly 1 million likes.
Twitter continued to be a strong part of our social media strategy in 2015 and two of our most prominent regular campaigns, #UMichChat & #UMichTalks, helped contribute to another year of outstanding growth. After reaching the 100k milestone just before the end of 2014, we set our sight on 150,000. By year end @UMich had welcomed more than 45,000 new followers, just shy of our goal.
But followers and likes aren’t everything. A critical part of what we do is educating our communities on important programs, keeping them informed about and engaged with current events, and enabling increased transparency between faculty, leadership, and our online advocates. The increased popularity of our live interactive dialogues helps us do that, and has contributed to our trending within the state of Michigan on nearly a monthly basis.
Collectively, the thousands of tweets we authored this year garnered more than 28,000 retweets, 50,000 mentions, and 53,000 favorites. Below is a look at five of our highest-performing pieces of content in 2015:
1. Who doesn’t love a birthday party? U-M may be focused on ringing in our upcoming bicentennial, but our social following was just as happy to help us celebrate our 198th, enabling this collage to be viewed by nearly half a million people.
2. One of our key goals as the overarching university account is to ensure the representation of all our outstanding schools, colleges, organizations, and events. Our content submission form on socialmedia.umich.edu enables anyone to share an upcoming event or request our assistance in sharing via social. This tweet promoting a performance by American hip-hop artist G-Eazy hosted by Big Ticket Productions at the annual Block M Party really drew a crowd, viewed by more than 250,000 Twitter users.
3. In the spring of 2014, our U-M social communities rallied together to show support for a member in need. This powerful lesson subsequently gave birth to a partnership with Yik Yak to promote and encourage positive online dialogue and proactive communities. The call to action reverberated throughout our user community and within higher education, resulting in 147,846 people who read about the partnership and its potential.
4. Game days are fantastic days for tweets. Our dedicated athletics accounts provide live play-by-play updates for every sport. We also enjoy sharing key highlights and coordinating campaigns to encourage our fans and followers to do the same. The hashtag #myhoMecoming allowed us to curate content from Wolverines around the world eager to tell their stories, relive memories, and share in the celebrations.
5. The year 2015 didn’t just signal the comeback of our football team: we had many outstanding student-athletes find success on the field. The U-M Women’s Softball Team 38 won Twitter’s heart with their journey to the College World Series. While the team did not win the final game, they represented our university on the main stage with pride and excellence, and the internet congratulated them enthusiastically.
We look forward to continuing to bring you outstanding content in the coming year. Thank you being a part of our ever-growing, ever-evolving community!
What’s one of your favorite spots on campus?
“I study at the Ugli almost every night during the week and usually all day on Sunday.The second floor is my favorite study spot on campus, even though there is a lot of talking and socializing. I feel like, if you’re going to be stuck doing homework, you might as well have a little bit of fun and surround yourself with others who are on the same struggle bus. Some of my closest friendships happened through bonding at the library: my “Ugli-friends.” In fact, I even networked at the Ugli and met someone who helped me get a job after I graduate! This is how I see it: when I graduate, I’m not going to remember the nights I studied at home, but the long nights I spent with friends studying our lives away together at the Ugli.”
If you could go back in time, what’s one thing you would tell yourself?
“I was a student at U-M in the early 1990s. I remember avoiding taking courses in which I thought I wouldn’t excel, even if I had an interest in the topic. Looking back I find that ridiculous for two reasons. First, you are not expected to be good at something before you have learned how to do it! The whole point of being at an educational institution is that you get to learn new things, often from scratch. You are not expected to be an expert on any topic walking into a classroom. Second, if you are not that good at a particular topic, then so what? Everyone is good at something and not as good at something else. Sometimes we limit ourselves because we fear not being good at something. I would tell my younger self to explore all of my interests and not to be concerned with how good or bad I was at something. This is advice that I would want to pass on to my students.”
Who are you?
“I grew up in Ann Arbor. I’ve lived here practically my entire life. I’m a graduate from Eastern and I’ve worked for Chipotle for about 6 years. It’s been quite awhile, that’s for sure.”
What are you studying?
“I got my Bachelor’s in Communications and I’m actually going to Wayne for this next semester for my Master’s in Public Relations and Organizational Communications.”
What’s your dream?
“I would love to pursue modeling in honesty. I really enjoy being a student, so that’s why I’m going back to school. But, I really enjoy modeling. I choose to model.”
What was the reaction from your Friends and Family when they learned about Chipotle Bae?
“They just tease me, calling me Chipotle Bae when I’m walking into a room. It’s always a lot of excitement because of it, so it’s always good fun.”
Has anyone recognized you at the store?
“Yea, a few people have. It’s not very often which is actually kind of nice.”
Did you realize you were everyone’s Chipotle Bae before the post?
“No, I had no clue. I had no idea.”
What’s your favorite thing to do?
“One of my favorite hobbies, in all honesty, is running. I really enjoy to run. I used to run track in high school. But, besides that, I play a lot of video games. Super Smash Brothers is my favorite.”
What level are you on?
“I’m the greatest Super Smash Brothers player ever. That’s my level.”
What’s your Chipotle Bae order?
“Okay, here it goes: You get the brown rice, because it’s more nutritious than the white rice. Typically the black beans. Steak of course. And then I’ll put cheese on top of the hot sauce, and then tomatoes, guac, and lettuce. That’s what’s in my bowl.”
What’s your most embarrassing moment?
“When I first started working at Chipotle, I was a huge flirt with a lot of my customers. I received a lot of criticism from my boss in front of the customers. So, it was always a little embarrassing. But, it was in good fun. It was definitely a big lesson about professionalism.”
“Electric Relaxation by A Tribe Called Quest.”
Favorite food, besides Chipotle?
“Lasagna. It has to be a meaty, cheesy ordeal.”
Where’s your favorite place in the world?
“Zanzibar is probably my favorite place in the world.”
Do you play any instruments?
“I play the piano a bit.”
“Winter, for some weird reason. But, I have to give it up for Fall because I can run shirtless and it’s awesome. I get the most hardcore tans ever.”
What is the average day in the life of Chipotle Bae like?
“Okay, so typically, from the get go, I usually spend my morning trying to do productive things cause I’m not at work. So, I usually run, work out, and try to read and study. And then, from 4 o’clock on, it’s just, you know Chipotle.”
What are your long term goals?
“That’s a difficult question. For certain, I’m going to have my masters. My larger goal is figuring out where that fits into my plan, in all honesty. I’m really looking forward to studying the subject, but I’d really like to see where I can land myself.”
Did you always know that you wanted to go into Communications?
“Well, actually, it is a more recent thing. But, I definitely see myself more in that field.”
What’s your life motto?
“When there’s a will, there’s a way.”
Anything else you want to say?
“I hope I can see my more typical customers at the Washtenaw Location, since I’ve been moved to that location!”
What inspired you to create the Multi-Ethnic Student Society?
“Growing up biracial is tough- you never feel like you fit in anywhere. I expected it to be different in college but being biracial on this campus really began to wear on me. I had found different niches to fit into, but nowhere that I felt 100% myself; I was always compartmentalizing who I was to fit into whatever the environment called for. It was a classic case of the tragic mulatto, “too white to be black and too black to be white,” and I really felt like that no matter where I was on campus. So I decided to do something about it. Inspired by Mariah Carey’s “Outside,” I went about creating a multi-racial club.
Fast forward a couple weeks and lots of planning, persuading, and coercing later, the Multi-Ethnic Student Society was born. MESS was created in hopes of not only giving other multi-racial/multi-ethnic students somewhere they could feel completely comfortable but also to bring different ethnic backgrounds together to learn, share, and celebrate each other’s cultures.”
How has your end of the semester been?
“Really stressful because I though I would do well with all of my papers, but then I didn’t.”
How many papers did you have to write?
“I had to write two officially, but then create a portfolio that had all of my papers for the entire semester.”
Which class was that for?
“English 223, Creative writing. Most of my writings were about other people, which is really creepy, but it’s fine. They were mostly my friends. I titled the stories but their names, and really liked them. But, everyone said the titles were bad. My friends liked the stories. It was based on things that had happened to us.”
What are some ways you deal with the end of the semester stress?
“I just try to think about other stuff by getting distracted. Like, I just got this Oreo Blast for my roommate with whip cream on top and everything, but then it melted. I just went to the UGLI to look for her for about 10 minutes, but I couldn’t find her. And then, it got all over me, so now it’s a mess.”
Is it yours now?
“Nope, now it’s just a mess.”
Where’s your favorite study spot?
Is there anything you tell yourself to through finals season?
“Not really, I kind of just pray for my grades.”
What are your favorite things about returning home?
“So one of my favorite things is getting to see my family and my friends. I’m actually not too far away from here. I’m from Toledo, Ohio. But, one thing I love about being home is the sense of community and just the sense of comfort after being in a very stressful environment where you’re constantly competing. It’s really nice to just go home and relax and be able to be with family. Mine in particular is great because I have an older sister who’s 9 years older than me and she lives in California, so it’s really great for us to all be together. Her, me, my mom and my dad. One funny thing is that our Christmas tree in our basement has been there for three years straight so it’s always interesting to come home and see if it’s up, get some home cooked meals and we also travel during the holidays, which is a fun thing! We’re going to Atlantis this year, but I guess my favorite thing about being home is definitely that sense of warmth and comfort. And also just getting to unravel and see the bigger picture. I think when you’re in college and school you tend to have a focused mindset on ‘I need to do x, y, and z.’ and like say if it’s studying for an exam and you’re really stressed out about it, you’re really worried, and you feel like your life depends on it. Or maybe you’re applying for a job and feel like if this company doesn’t hire you, you don’t know what you’ll do. Going home, I feel like you definitely, at least for me, I tend to let go of those thoughts and needs and get to see the bigger picture and realize that if you start somewhere, you’re always going to end somewhere. At the end of the day, if that test or job interview doesn’t end up going how you wanted it to, you will always have another opportunity in the future. Being with family and friends who support that, is great especially cause, you know, my dad has always really encouraged to follow my passion and never give up, and my sister has always been there as a role model. And my mom has always been a big encourager and supporter. So, it’s great to be around that comfort and know that at the end of the day, succeed or fail, your family and friends will always support you. And secondly, they believe in you and going back to a place that really knows you and supports you, it always really fuels you up to make it through another semester.”
Do you have any funny family memories from around this time of year?
“One funny thing that happened was my family and I went to India, and of course since it’s super hot there, I packed all my really warm clothes and I didn’t realize that I forgot to pack winter boots. So, we get off the plane, walk out of the terminal and walk out of the airport, and that’s when I realized I am wearing flip-flops and socks, and I don’t have tennis shoes, I don’t have boots and it’s snowing outside. We’re in the middle of the Detroit airport, it’s freezing, everyone’s wearing boots, jackets and scarves, and I’m wearing my sandals and socks. So, I was super cold at the airport, and embarrassed. I just felt stupid. But, when we got home, and even after seeing the cultural difference, with it being cold and somewhat lonely after just leaving all of our family in India, we got home and on the counter we had a freshly cooked meal by our friends who surprised us! That was the only thing that I really needed to make me feel more at home. After leaving all of my relatives, and my family in India, coming back to that warmth to the knowledge that you have friends that are always there for you and who are like family, it just made me feel really warm, both figuratively and literally. I got home and didn’t really care about the fact that I forgot my winter boots.”
“Coming to Michigan, I was actually the only one from my high school, so coming here I was very excited but also a little bit afraid. One experience that kind of changed my outlook on things was by joining APAC’s consulting club. And that was a great experience because I had actually never known too much about consulting before coming to Michigan. I thought I wanted to focus on marketing, but I joined this club on a whim and it taught me almost everything I know right now, and it was great because I was able to connect with other people who had that same passion and also learn a lot more. It was also really cool to be a part of it because I was able to help a client who had an idea about a product, and this semester, we’re actually able to have Zingermans as a client, and so, I was able to meet with Ari Zingerman with my team and tell him our recommendations. I learned a lot about myself, and my peers during that time! I also learned about the cool culture of Zingermans in Ann Arbor.
Another great experience I’ve been a part of is Dance Marathon at the University of Michigan. The reason I joined Dance Marathon, actually, was because back in India I have two cousins who have special needs. I joined not really knowing what to expect and jumped in right away as a dancer captain. Slowly throughout the year, I started realizing how great it was to have that community that I felt like I really needed, being the only one here from my high school. At the marathon, it was amazing because we stood for 24 hours without sitting and a lot of the people around me that felt like acquaintances before, really felt like family in the end because we really pushed each other and motivated each other to not sit down, but to stand. At the end when some of the kids came on stage, it really had a perspective change for me because I had always thought that coming to Michigan and school was a great opportunity. But, I never really valued it as much when I saw how another person has so much less they can do in life because of their disability or special need. So, it really just made me grateful and was a life changing experience. I’m really happy to be continuing it. I’m on the marketing team this year, and we’re working towards the marathon. I’ve definitely gotten to have that sense of community that you don’t find otherwise, and it’s really nice to have a community that supports each other for a common goal who wants to help others.”
How is celebrating Chanukah at Michigan?
Growing up, Chanukah was a special time in my house — it’s not a really religiously important holiday, like Rosh Hashana or anything, but was definitely a time for everyone to pause their day, light the menorah, eat latkes, and sing songs. And I’ve also found in my past three years here at Michigan that that’s how it is at school, too — even though it’s a hectic time of year, with everyone getting ready for finals, every night of Chanukah we lit the menorah in my apartment, and there was always a lot of stuff happening at Hillel, too. It’s just a festive time of year. We sing special tunes to the prayers that are unique to this time of year, and that kind of gives the same kind of warm fuzzy feeling you’d get when you hear Christmas music.
One of my favorite Chanukah customs is called “pirsumei neis,” which means “spreading the miracle.” We basically light the menorah and then place it in the window so it’s visible to everyone who walks by, which is kind of hard to do if you live in an apartment building, but we did it anyway. One meaning for that custom is that we should be proud to be Jewish and of our beautiful traditions and our incredible heritage. And the other meaning is that we should always be working to bring light into the world in whatever way we can. It’s also why Hillel and Chabad and other Jewish organizations on campus do those big, fun menorah lightings on the Diag — to face outward into the whole community and to share the light. Light is pretty much the underlying theme of Chanukah — creating it, sharing it, and spreading it.”
Over the past two weeks, the automotive industry has been in the national spotlight as the 29th annual North American International Auto Show takes place in Detroit. So we thought this would be the perfect time to highlight the revolutionary breakthroughs in the future of mobility that are happening in our own backyard. We brought together a panel of mobility experts who shed light on U-M’s role in shaping the future of driverless vehicles.
Three U-M faculty members lent their voices to the conversation: Ed Olson (@MichiganEngineering), assistant professor of computer science; Carol Flannagan (@cacflannagan), interim director of UMTRI (the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute); and Anuj Pradhan, UMTRI research scientist. Our panel also included two experts from the industry: Trish Polinski (@trishpolinski), senior vice president of business development and strategy at Xerox, and Erica Klampfl (@ericaklampfl), global mobility solutions manager at Ford.
Our panelists provided critical insight on the enormous societal impact that driverless technology could ultimately have, and on how Mcity could serve as a critical component of mobility research. The conversation quickly picked up traction as auto enthusiasts from around the country tuned in, and spread the word about the chat.
Over the course of the conversation, #UMichChat generated 650,000 total impressions and an estimated audience of more than 400,000 people. Additionally, our hashtag was the #1 trending topic in the region. These metrics allow us to conclude that our content was both far-reaching and well received.
In case you missed it, a full archive of the conversation is available on Storify. We hope you’ll join us next month for another great #UMichChat!
This post was written by Sarah Barnitt, #UMSocial intern and Bachelor of Science in Information junior. #StaySocial with her on Twitter and Instagram @sarahbarnitt