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Emory x Me features images of and quotations from a diverse range of Emory students.

By John Baker Brown, Campus Life Communications

Early last spring, Emory students participating in a student-led research project told Campus Life they would like for social media to deliver more stories about their peers.

The result was the April launch of “Emory x Me” (pronounced “Emory and Me”) – a social media pilot project, described as “a visual and oral history celebrating the unique student stories that make Emory who we are – a community of the passionate and purposeful, open to changing the world and our place in it.”

Emory x Me features images of and quotations from a diverse range of Emory students, according to Tina Chang, Campus Life communications director. Part of a larger initiative, Elevating Student Voices, Emory x Me featured 10 students in the spring and will continue this fall.

“Emory x Me is a platform to help students share their experiences in their own words, unfiltered by staff or faculty,” added Chang, who led the project. “Through our research, students tell us they are interested in hearing more about each other directly from each other.”

Cochran and Goodwin-FarleyConnor Cochran and Janell Goodwin-Farley were among the first 10 students
featured in Emory x Me. Photo by Tina Chang.

Connor Cochran, one the students featured, agrees. “Emory x Me puts students at the forefront of the narrative as the protagonists in the story,” said the rising senior majoring in music. “It illustrates that Emory’s student body is diverse and students with varied interests excel in every discipline.”

Cochran also described the impact of Emory x Me on a more personal level. “Like many students, I like to share my passions and interests,” he said. “And I relish the opportunity to set an example for new students that says you can succeed in any field that you desire.”

Another member of the first Emory x Me cadre was nontraditional student Janell Goodwin-Farley 19C, an Emory employee for 30 years and a grandmother who earned a bachelor’s degree in women’s studies in May.

“Emory x Me introduces students to faculty and staff, as well as other students. It connects people with each other and with resources,” said Goodwin-Farley, an event coordinator with Campus Life’s Student Center Operations and Events. “Networking like that is important in college and can help students succeed later in life.”

Emory x Me collage of student photosAlexa Palomo 19C conducted the student research that informed conception of the project. She and Chang interviewed dozens of other students over the course of several Wonderful Wednesdays at Asbury Circle. Interviewees responded to two requests: 1) list all the topics they would want to read about fellow students; and 2) think of an exemplary Emory student and list the qualities that set the student apart.

Palomo applied content analysis to the responses recorded by 125 interviewees. Content analysis is used by researchers to study trends and patterns of the language and rhetoric of online media and texts. Analysis of data from Emory students suggests they have a “strong desire” to share “backstories/personal narratives” with fellow students.

Palomo’s research was an essential element in a larger research effort to inform a new university initiative, Elevating Student Voices. The other two research elements were an online survey distributed to all Emory students and a series of student focus groups, both of which were conducted last spring and explored student communications practices and preferences.

In the months since, that research has informed plans to enhance the ways Emory communicates news and information to students. Meanwhile, the successful first product of the research, Emory x Me, is ready to welcome its next cadre of featured students.

“We invite the Emory community to recommend students for Emory x Me – and we are especially interested in undergraduate and graduate students nominating their peers,” said Chang.

“The nomination criteria are simple. We are looking for Emory students whose stories aren't typically heard but are stories worthy of sharing broadly with other students and the larger university community,” Chang added. “And we invite students, faculty, and staff to follow Emory Campus Life social media to read about life at Emory.”


Visit the Emory_x_Me website page: http://campuslife.emory.edu/student-voices/index.html