Saint Xavier University (SXU) has multiple social and digital media platforms to amplify their online presence, like most current universities. SXU is expanding how they use social media to stay relevant and informative to their students.
One of the many ways the school is reaching out to current and prospective students is by their student blog Cougar Diaries.
Cougar Diaries began in 2013 as a WordPress blog, however, in the spring of 2017, it made its transition to Facebook with the help of Alicia Roberson. Roberson works in the University Relations office at SXU. The blog follows the journeys of freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior students. It gives prospective high school students, and current students, information on what events to look forward to at SXU. They also write about ways to navigate life here at SXU.
Currently, there are four bloggers who write for Cougar Diaries: freshman, Susan Nguyen; sophomore, Nick Vazquez; junior, Amber Burke; and senior, Chris Thach.
Freshman, Susan Nguyen said, “I usually blog about how-to’s and giving advice on student life, meaning, I help give ideas to help maintain student lifestyles.”
Nguyen is a Communications major who provides tips and advice on Cougar Diaries that she’s come to learn from experience. This is Nguyen’s first year writing for the blog.
Each blogger offers a little something different from the other. Nick Vazquez is a sophomore majoring in Criminal Justice.
After blogging during his freshman year, Nick is no longer the new guy on campus, as he continues on his educational journey learning even more about SXU and himself. Recently, he wrote about tackling his biggest paper.
Vazquez stated that, “There is a variety of things I talk about, from discussing my favorite study spot to informing people about current events on campus, or even how my classes are going.”
The bloggers tend to keep their posts SXU related as Vazquez continued, “I usually like to make my posts SXU related to appeal to the audience, as most of our readers are students just like me. Whether the post is short and sweet or long and meaningful, I want to create content that everyone can enjoy.”
As the bloggers discussed what they blog about, the bigger question was whether or not they think that this blog will help bring SXU students together.
“I do think that the blogs that my fellow bloggers and I write have brought the students of SXU together because there have been many times when I am casually in the diner in Warde Academic Center and a student will come up to me to tell me they enjoyed my blog posts because it lets them know about current events on campus,” said junior, Amber Burke.
Burke is majoring in Marketing and tends to post images and videos of her attending SXU events with her friends to share with her readers. Burke also wrote for the blog during her sophomore year.
Another familiar blogger is senior, Chris Thach, who wrote for the blog during his junior year, as well. Thach is majoring in Secondary Art Education.
Chris loves to share his philosophy on SXU life on Cougar Diaries. He was recently featured by SXNews for his digital illustrations that capture his grandfather’s time as a Japanese solider.
“I do believe that the blog brings us [SXU Students] together. What better way to get to know your fellow students than hearing about how their day has been and finding out what they are like,” said Thach.
Sophomore, Vazquez believes that the blogs are bringing students together as well, saying, “Social media is such a large platform today and blogging on Facebook allows us to reach a much broader audience. Everyone is usually on some form of social media and Facebook happens to be one of the biggest today. It’s cool to see students, and even adults, like and comment on our posts. It’s awesome to know that people are enjoying what we put out.”
The current Facebook blog has 176 followers and 172 likes.
In order to gain a bigger audience, Alicia Roberson said, “While the switch to Facebook made a huge impact in reaching our target markets, we are still aware that we need to get the word out that Cougar Diaries is on Facebook. So this semester, you’ll probably see flyers around campus. Digital monitor slides are coming soon. It’s already on the website and posts are shared on the main institutional social media sites each week.”
Roberson talks about the possibility of getting the Student Media Center involved, “We also plan to work with WXAV radio station for commercials and to possibly interview our bloggers on air so the campus can learn even more about our bloggers.”
While it is their job to post about their experiences, the bloggers have fun doing it.
“My favorite part about writing for Cougar Diaries is that I am not forced to write about topics I am not interested in. I am able to write about the things I want. I am also able to take creative direction with new blog layouts. This includes photos, videos, gifs, slideshows, live video, etc,” said Burke.
Freshman blogger Nguyen stated, “My favorite part about writing for Cougar Diaries is that I can write about almost everything. It also gives me a chance to share my experiences with other students.”
Vazquez digs a little deeper as to what his favorite reason is for writing on Cougar Diaries.
“Besides the writing aspect of it all, I really enjoy the feedback from readers. Some posts will be more popular than others, but when I make a post that receives positive feedback, that is all I can really ask for. It is great to know that there are people who are taking their time out of their day to read my content and support me. I also enjoy reading the work of my fellow bloggers, as they also inspire me to continue giving quality posts, as they do.”
As a senior, Thach is gearing up to graduate, and so, he takes a simpler approach to what one of his favorite reasons is for blogging, “My favorite part is sharing my opinions on things and how they relate to my life, and the way it reflects life here at Saint Xavier.”
As the bloggers shared their favorite part about writing for the Cougar Diaries, Roberson, who oversees the bloggers, said her favorite part about Cougar Diaries is that, “Saint Xavier University is made up of a diverse student body with dreams, goals, obstacles, and a passion for service, and Cougar Diaries genuinely exemplifies that through different viewpoints from students.”
The bloggers post every day, Monday through Friday, on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SXUCougarDiaries/