Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering Chair Robert Judd (R) was just one of the Russ College faculty members who led a team through the Instagram scavenger hunt.
Bringing together a sense of community and social media savvy, more than 200 first-year students at the Fritz J. and Dolores H. Russ College of Engineering and Technology documented their formal welcome into the college: a team scavenger hunt complete with college trivia, an honor code signing and a math mindbender as the teams used Instagram and hashtags to capture the journey.
“It was a good group bonding experience,” said civil engineering freshman Mary Murray of Delaware, Ohio, about Wednesday evening’s hunt and buffet dinner in Baker University Center ballroom.
Led by team captains – current student leaders and faculty – small groups roamed among Baker University Center, the Academic & Research Center (ARC) and Stocker Center. Teams were asked to solve a math problem, write down their burning questions about life at college, sign the annual Russ College Honor Code banner, and tag how they want to create for good in portraits of themselves.
At each stop, teams posted their pics on the online, photo-based social media application Instagram to document getting to know more about their new academic home – and each other.
Engineering Ambassador Nichole Lowe, a chemical and biomolecular engineering senior from Cincinnati, said the event broke the ice with new students, who at one scavenger hunt stop were asked to calculate how many jellybeans could fit into the Russ College student competition team concrete canoe housed in the ARC project hangar. Coming up with the answer, 133,954.491, helped get students talking.
“I liked being able to walk around with the students on my team and have the opportunity to get to know them a little more in a less formal environment,” Lowe said. “And I think they enjoyed the math problem they did at the hangar as well.”
With each photo they posted to Instagram, teams applied hashtags, including #ohiou, #russcollege, #academicintegrity and to filter content for other Instagram users, such as alumni and prospective students, who follow the Russ College Instagram feed.
The Baker Univesrity Center Ballroom stop connected students to the college’s motto, “Create for Good,” by asking them to fill out a tag with how they want to improve society in sustainable ways. They snapped “selfies” -- self-portraits– and uploaded them to Instagram as well, to inspire others who want to leave a positive and lasting mark on the world through engineering and technology.
Mechanical engineering freshman Evan Gardner was inspired by his own past sports injuries to study how he could help other athletes achieve “quicker recovery after surgery.” Knee injuries kept him from being able to play basketball and golf his freshman and sophomore years of high school.
“I’ve had two knee surgeries and it took me out from a year of sports. I’d like to help getting knee replacements or other joints get back into active lifestyles quicker,” said Gardner, of Bowling Green, Ohio.
Spatz, a freshman computer science major from Pittsburgh, Penn., said her statement, “make an impact,” reflected her overall goal, although she’s still exploring what line of work will help her accomplish it.
“I just want to make a difference and leave something behind,” she said.
Before the post-hunt buffet dinner, Russ College Dean Dennis Irwin took to the podium to answer those burning questions submitted by students and to underscore the importance of integrity in academics and professional life, as reflected in the college’s honor code.
“Inteigrity is doing the right thing even when no one is watching,” he said, offering that his door is open and college staff are there to help.
Irwin said he enjoys interacting with the students, and that he learned a new social media tool in the process.
“I actually have to confess it was the first time I’ve logged onto Instagram,” Irwin said. “I don’t use Twitter, but I use Facebook pretty extensively and LinkedIn.”
Lowe said meeting the dean is one of the most important things about the annual first-year welcome.
“I feel like it’s a nice opportunity to see the dean and get to know how he’s very personable. They know that they can go into his office at any point in time and have the opportunity to speak to him,” she said.