Engaging Students on Their Own Terms

To engage students, you’re going to have to think like a student. Simple, right? Many of the most shared videos in recent years have obviously resulted from meeting students on their own turf. For example, most of the lip dub videos that were all the rage in 2009 and 2010 featured students front and center:

This year, Facebook pages for university-specific memes have been making the rounds. Much like the lip dub videos, these memes are usually a bit crazy and occasionally inappropriate or offensive. Even so, they’re popular with students and easy to share.


When these types of quirky, student-generated content gain traction, it’s time to pay attention. Universities and organizations often end up sounding stodgy. Students sound, well, like students. Consider adapting ideas that are already popular with students. Better yet, coach actual students through the process of making a piece that’s professional enough to represent the organization. It’s win-win: the organization gains a student perspective that will help to engage other students, and the students learn and gain experience.