How does a new dean get to know the community he will lead, and the new city he is living in? American University School of Communication Dean Jeff Rutenbeck @jrutenbeck leveraged social media to tackle both issues at once. Working with public communication professor Pallavi Kumar and SOC's social media team, he engaged SOC faculty, staff, students and alumni in an online conversation using the hashtag #JeffinDC to find out what hidden gems DC had to offer. The SOC community rose to the occasion, posting top picks for food and fun activities on Facebook & Twitter and finally voting in an online poll.
Now Rutenbeck has invited students, staff, faculty and alumni to meet him at Jack's Boathouse Tuesday, October 9, from 1-3 p.m. for an afternoon of boating on the Potomac – one of the three most popular DC outings suggested. All are welcome, but one lucky student will get to kayak for free, in Rutenbeck's kayak.
“Jeff in DC” was launched early in the fall 2012 semester as an interactive social media project. Looking for a way to connect with more people than he would be able to through welcome week activities alone, the campaign gave Rutenbeck the opportunity to bridge the gap between SOC students, faculty and their new dean.
"Jeff in DC" asked people to tweet and post suggestions for restaurants, museums and other fun outings that Rutenbeck could try to get to know his new city. This inclusion of students and faculty in the introduction of Rutenbeck to both AU and Washington, DC has added a more personal dimension to the relationship between the new dean and the SOC community.
With suggestions pouring in via Twitter and Facebook, Dean Rutenbeck was intrigued by many but had to narrow the list. Top suggestions from the campaign included Baked & Wired, Good Stuff Eatery, Kayaking at Jack’s Boathouse, E Street Cinema, Kramerbooks & Afterwords Café and Tuckeroo or a food truck on campus.