Kennedy Center website encourages student engagement

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The Kennedy Center has fully embraced technological advancements with a multimedia website encouraging public involvement. The website has been popular among students since its launch in May 2015.

Students can follow the Kennedy Center on social media outlets and share stories, photos and videos about international study program experiences.

McCall Mishler
Social media coordinator Lindsay Combs studied abroad with the global diplomacy program in Summer 2015 and photographed her experiences. The Kennedy Center encourages students to share their study abroad experiences on social media. (McCall Mishler)

Social media coordinator Lindsay Combs runs the Kennedy Center Facebook page, live-tweets lectures and helps with the Instagram feed. Combs said what makes the Kennedy Center social media and website successful is its focus on involving the public. 

“People love people and they like to hear the stories of others, and we try to focus on that,” Combs said. “We want people to show the experiences they have, whether that be on a study abroad or here in Provo.”

The website communicates to students and faculty through multimedia elements and visual features. Six individuals run the website, including a communications manager, a web developer, two designers, a content writer and a photo editor.

Kennedy Center assistant director Cory Leonard said the current website was a major change from the previous one, which was scholarly based and directed more toward faculty.

“Once we launched it, it has taken off and users love it,” Leonard said. “We’re constantly refining the webpage and trying to make it better.”

Hannah Pugh
Combs stands outside the Holyrood Palace in Edinburgh, Scotland, during her Scottish Parliament Internship in Winter 2016. (Hannah Pugh)

The website incorporates social media elements with a direct link to Instagram. The Kennedy Center also has Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn accounts.

The BYU Stories Abroad page is an outlet where former international study program students can submit blog posts including anything from a “day in the life” to insightful analyses of a culture, a series of photos, essays or poems. Students can also submit multimedia elements like videos and sound clips to add depth to a story.

Along with Stories Abroad, the Kennedy Center also hosts a video contest every year where students have the opportunity to tell their stories abroad through film. The center encourages contestants to be creative and engaging by including personal stories, interviews, action shots, etc.

International study programs coordinator Aaron Rose oversees Stories Abroad and the video contest.

“The video competition is a great way to advertise what we do and it is also a great way for students to tell their stories,” Rose said. “People can take their cellphones and GoPros on site while on a program and get some awesome footage.”

Stories Abroad first started out as a video competition and has since expanded into a blog, YouTube channel and Instagram page.

Visit the Kennedy Center website to see the stories of study abroad students and to learn more about BYU international study programs.

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