By Yaqub Ahmedfiqi


Student standing in front of a brick wall wearing a blue Michigan polo

Yaqub Ahmedfiqi

As 2022 draws to a close, it provides us with a unique opportunity to look back and reflect on the past year. While the University of Michigan provides students with countless opportunities, I feel grateful to be one of the select group of interns for UMSocial that represent the brand and are able to amplify student voices across campus and beyond. With the changing social media landscape and how our peers consume content, 2022 has seen yet another significant shift in how our department creates media. With those new formats in mind, it’s never been more important for UMSocial to have student representation within the office in order to properly reflect the experiences, emotions, and expectations of the student body.


If you asked any of us what being a UMSocial intern is like, you would probably get a different answer every time. While each of us have our own talents and skill sets, there really isn’t a typical day when it comes to this internship. Whether it’s being the faces of the University of Michigan TikTok account and keeping up with the latest trends, utilizing our videography, photography, and design skills to highlight events on campus, or just communicating with UMSocial staff about the current campus climate, we feel like an integral part of the office. The opportunity to represent over 50,000+ students on campus and amplify their voices is something that most students never get a chance to do. Bringing the student experience to UMSocial has changed how I impact the campus community, providing a lens that wouldn’t exist otherwise. While I enjoy making and posting content, helping faculty, staff, and community members better understand what it is truly like to be a student at the University of Michigan is something I love just as much — if not more.


When it comes to how content has been produced in 2022, it’s pivotal to be genuine and representative of all voices. By leveraging relationships on campus and documenting my own experiences, I helped provide UMSocial with an accurate representation of student life. Even though the majority of the content is lighthearted and fun, the creative process is treated very seriously with a constant goal of being relatable, reliable, and real. When presented with a project that does not properly reflect how students feel on campus, I can speak my mind and work toward shaping those ideas into content that I feel will be genuinely enjoyed and positively received by students. There are many valuable aspects of UMSocial utilizing the talents of student interns, but in my opinion, the most important one may be that in this role I can act as a filter that ensures only the most representative content is posted.


In addition to creating content that represents voices on campus, an aspect of the UMSocial internshipship that has been extremely fulfilling is having the opportunity to interact personally with fellow students. Through filming interviews on the Diag, collaborating with various departments, and having the opportunity to cover events campuswide, I truly feel integrated into the University of Michigan community. This added knowledge and experience makes myself and the rest of the interns the ideal ambassadors to represent the brand and in doing so, give other students an opportunity to promote themselves, their groups, and their interests across campus. I have benefited both personally from the individuals I’ve worked with and the relationships I’ve formed. 


Vertical video needs for every college around the world have increased significantly in recent years. With Instagram Reels and TikTok dominating the content space, it was pertinent that we established a voice and unique style on these platforms. Since July, our group has been a part of a revamped vertical video content strategy that has amassed nearly 9 million views, a reach of over 8 million, and close to 650,000 engagements. The University of Michigan TikTok following is a perfect example of why this increased emphasis on vertical video has paid off. UMSocial has doubled the amount of followers and reached more prospective students, fans, and community members than ever before. Whether it’s finding a unique angle to comment on campus construction, being an early adapter to viral trends, informing students about campus sustainability, or responding to our biggest rival moments after a historic win, I am extremely proud about how we’ve pushed the envelope while remaining brand friendly.


When it comes to thinking about the future of the UMSocial internship, I am proud of the groundwork that has been established this year. With that in mind, I know we are not done yet. I’m excited to carry this momentum into the new year to revolutionize what it means to be a college brand on social media, something that wouldn’t be possible without the input of student voices. Being an intern at UMSocial has been an incredible adventure and has given me the chance to develop my own skills while leaving a positive impact. I feel lucky to represent the University of Michigan brand, and I’m hopeful that future interns will experience more success because of the foundation our team has constructed this year.