USG Downtown turns to TikTok for student outreach

USGD joined the app to better connect with students and make student government seem more approachable

In an effort to improve outreach to students, particularly those studying remotely, Undergraduate Student Government Downtown has created a TikTok account. 

The account is fairly new, with its first post on Feb. 2. It currently has 18 followers and four posts, but USGD plans to gain more traction to connect with students in a more casual way, given TikTok's popularity with students.

The idea to create the account first came about last semester, said USGD President Nora Thompson.

“We figured that most students have a TikTok account so we should meet them halfway,” Thompson, a senior studying public service and public policy, said. “We could use that as a way to engage students with what we do in student government.”  

John Brown, director of communications for USGD, runs the organization's social media, including its TikTok account.

“We are trying to push out relevant videos and relevant information to not only make sure we are connected with clubs and organizations, (but) make sure that they can get the best college experience as possible, even one in a global pandemic,” Brown, a sophomore studying journalism, said. 

Multiple USGD members have their own TikTok accounts, including Fernanda Ruiz Martinez, who is the director of student outreach and the senator for the Cronkite school. Martinez was prominently featured in USGD's second TikTok about daily health checks.

@usgdowntown

Don't forget to SUBMIT YOUR DAILY HEALTH CHECK! Happy Monday!! @fernandaaamartinezzz ##fyp #asu ##studentgovernment ##arizonastateuniversity ##phoenix

♬ original sound - USG Downtown

“It’s nothing serious, it’s mostly to have fun. That’s what TikTok is,” Martinez said. 

The creation of videos is an all-inclusive progress, with every member chipping in with ideas in a dedicated Slack channel. 

“We’ve been having a lot of fun with it,” Thompson said. 

In terms of coming up with other ideas, the account has been following popular trends on TikTok, while adding a USGD and ASU spin to each video. 

USGD members hope the account will allow students to see them as more approachable. Soon they will start a TikTok series where members will provide viewers a look into their lives through the app, starting with Thompson, she said.

Thompson has yet to be featured in any of the TikToks and is often behind the camera. The posts are filmed in USGD’s offices. 

“I have thoroughly enjoyed it,” Thompson said. “I would just walk in (to USGD's offices) and say, ‘Hey, I’m filming a TikTok, you guys are gonna be in it, just try and act natural.” 

The TikToks have also been posted on USGD’s Instagram account and saved within the account's Reels. Three of the videos have accumulated over 1,000 views. 

“We have seen a lot of engagement on Instagram,” Brown said. “Reels does a really good job, it’s a good mix between posting important content that needs to go out to our constituents.” 

While its reach is currently narrow, USGD is looking to grow the TikTok account to reach more students on and off campus.

“It’s a fun way to spice it up because usually clubs and organizations are known for being traditional,” Brown said. 


Reach the reporter at mcfisch4@asu.edu and follow @morgfisch on Twitter. 

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