University awards first social media scholarship

by Ellen Rossow

rossowel@mnstate.edu

Last week, MSUM admissions representative Holly Hoeschen showed up at Moorhead High School with a bouquet of balloons — and $2,500.

MHS senior Camilla Herbel was winning the first of four $2,500 scholarships offered by MSUM’s #BeADragon campaign.

Excited to attend MSUM and pursue a degree in teaching, Herbel created a three-minute video interviewing a handful of her teachers about their experiences and how they’ve affected her career path. Just 10 days after posting the video to Twitter using the campaign’s hashtag, Herbel got the recognition she had hoped for.

“I was very thankful and extremely excited (to get the scholarship),” Herbel said.

The orchestra student said she’s also excited to continue playing viola in MSUM’s music department.

She found out about the scholarship during a workshop day she attended on campus. Herbel has proudly pinned the winning tweet and video to her Twitter page, @cam_herbel.

The hashtag is growing in popularity.

“I want to #BeADragon because MSUM has an awesome program for my degree, and Dragon Pride runs in my family!” one participant tweeted Feb. 22. The post was accompanied by pictures of her with alumni family members.

Other tweets include excitement about campus location, facilities, making parents proud and sports programs.

The #BeADragon scholarship was announced in January with subsequent Dragon Digest information, plugs for the scholarship in emails from President Anne Blackhurst and the creation of a campaign webpage.

“The university is breaking new ground by capitalizing on MSUM’s quickly growing social media presence to introduce prospective students to the culture of the university,” the initial Dragon Digest promotion read.

Blackhurst gave her support for the scholarship in the initial release.

“I value and understand the importance of traditional indicators for college preparedness,” Blackhurst said. “For the past 125 years, our university has attracted students who have a little something extra, and now that we have defined what that is, we are intentionally looking for students with grit, heart and humility.”

Interim Vice President of Enrollment Doug Peters said those values are what MSUM looks for in students.

“The … scholarships allow us to intentionally recruit students who exemplify our core values, meet prospective students in their place and do it in an impactful way,” Peters said in the initial release.

Blackhurst agreed.

“The … initiative takes the core values our campus community has lived since its beginnings and uses today’s technology to bring it to tomorrow’s students, and that is awesome,” she said.

The contest is limited to incoming freshmen and transfer students admitted to MSUM by March 11. Participants are encouraged to use photos, links to video and other media to show why they want to #BeADragon. Besides Herbel’s prize, three more $2,500 scholarships will be awarded to students who excel at showing their Dragon Pride creatively. Two smaller $1,000 scholarships will be awarded as well, one for the tweet with the most likes, and one for the the tweet with the most retweets. Aside from Herbel, all winners will be announced after the March 11 deadline.

Current and former Dragons are encouraged to promote the university using the #BeADragon hashtag, too.

More details on the #BeADragon campaign can be found at mnstate.edu/beadragon.

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