Behind the scenes with the host of UNH’s takeover series on Instagram
The @ThisIsUNH Instagram account was created in 2019 to give students an opportunity to showcase their Wildcat pride through a takeover series.
The Instagram takeover and story looks into the life of a UNH student by having them share their UNH story and experience in a unique way. This ultimately gives prospective students an idea of what UNH is like beyond a campus tour.
I have been coordinating the student Instagram takeovers for about two out of the three years that I have worked for #UNHSocial. It has been an incredible opportunity to be the lead on this continued project as I have made many connections and friendships with the students who are selected to do a takeover.
Leading and monitoring the Instagram takeovers has improved my organizational skills as I have become experienced with using Microsoft Excel Spreadsheet to sort students’ by name, takeover date, major, and class year.
Getting students from different colleges such as PAUL, COLA, CHHS, CEPS, and COLSA has been my goal to show future Wildcats what an average day looks like for students in different majors.
I have also become confident in my communication skills since leading the #ThisIsUNH brand. I am in constant communication with the student by crafting emails with information to ensure that they have a successful takeover.
The steps for students to apply to do a takeover is quite easy; they can either email me directly or fill out a qualtrics form which asks them questions such as what are they involved in at UNH, what experiences they want to share, if they could tell a prospective student one thing about UNH what it would be, etc.
Upon submission, I will evaluate their story idea and, if they are the right fit, I will reach out to them to set up a meeting. At this meeting, we would talk about what their day will look like during the takeover, what kind of things the student would talk about/show off, and more.
As you can see, I do not let the student go into their takeover blind. Usually, the student knows exactly what they will be talking about and what they want to show off to our followers in the form of Instagram stories. After our meeting, I will schedule a time where the student and our #UNHSocial photographers can meet to get headshots taken. The students very much appreciate getting their headshots taken by a professional photographer as they can use it for different platforms such as Handshake and LinkedIn.
On the chosen day of the students’ takeover, I will post their headshot and then give the student permission to “takeover” the account. I monitor the stories the full takeover day to ensure that the student stays on track and does not go off-brand. This past semester, we had 33 students takeover our #ThisIsUNH account. We had students from different colleges, multiple sports teams, a couple of sororities and fraternities, many clubs, residential life staff, and even graduate students do a takeover in 2021.
Our goal at #UNHSocial is to use the #ThisIsUNH Instagram account to allow students to be a voice for the UNH community. Our students are the backbone of this University and without them, there would be no UNH, so it is only fair that we allow them to share their story and experience on a platform that has a big following. Running this account has been one of my favorite things that I have done at UNH, and I am so grateful to have this amazing opportunity to not only be the lead on this project, but also be the reason students get to be a voice for their fellow Wildcats.
This year was full of showing off what UNH is truly like beyond a campus tour; it does not get more real than that!
Written by Paige Verrillo ’22
Paige is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Communication: Media Practices at the University of New Hampshire. Connect on LinkedIn.