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Adding Snapchat To Your Student Affairs “Story”

This isn’t my first post about Snapchat, and it definitely won’t be the last. It has quickly become one of my favorite social media applications. Currently, the most active users of Snapchat are high school and college students – but it is quickly gaining the captivation of users of all ages worldwide. Started by Stanford University students in 2011, Snapchat actually isn’t that new, but the photo and video mobile messaging tool now clocks in seven billion views per day.

Snapchat_LogoSnapchats motto is, “Life is more fun when it’s in the moment.” This is felt in the application’s design – especially since posts in both messaging and a user’s “story” (how Snapchat refers to a user’s feed) go away after 24 hours. While most users might not know this motto, college students tell me they feel more comfortable and at ease on this application because there is less pressure for likes, the perfect filter/angle and even feels more private. You can read more about what my I found out about students’ experiences and views on Snapchat (here).

Snapchat believes, “it’s not about the pretty and perfect parts of social media, but our everyday lives.” Far from my college days, as a professional working in higher education, I too am drawn to an application that can feature all the silly, serious, sleepy and sometimes even sad moments in my life. In-the-moment, not always perfect, parts of my everyday life. Below are just a few one could find on my Snapchat story in the past year.

Learn more about the reasons I am drawn to Snapchat – as well as the college student Snapchat story by watching my latest talk at the NASPA 2016 Annual Conference.

So why are you drawn to or distancing yourself from Snapchat?

Snapchat and Student Affairs

In this post, I won’t go into detail about what is Snapchat or how to use it – if you do need those types of resources, head here. I also won’t go into detail about how your institution or department can utilize this in-the-moment social tool. However, if you are interested in such information, here are a few fantastic articles to get you started:

This post’s purpose is to show you, as a student affairs educator (or really as anyone who works in higher education), the value of exploring Snapchat – perhaps  completely for personal use, but maybe also as a professional networking tool.

In my last post about Snapchat, I shared the reasons I am on Snapchat. But one thing I would add to this is real time interaction and professional networking with colleagues around the world. This especially can be found in direct messages or My Story replies to posts that might prompt a ‘congrats’ – ‘feel better’ or ‘you got this!’

Remember how Snapchat designed its application to be not just the pretty and perfect, but our everyday lives? Because of the in-the-moment and honest reflection of life in this app, I also feel like I know the real and ongoing lives of these student affairs professional more than those I follow on Facebook or Instagram. And in turn, I hope they know more of me too.  I’ve included a couple examples below that give you just a taste of all the parts of Dr. Josie Ahlquist.

Why Do #SApros Use Snapchat

But what about others in Student Affairs? What does it mean to be an educational professional on an application that still has some negative perceptions associated with it? (Nudity, stalking and cyber bullying).

I wanted to reach out to others in the field to find out why they are adding to their Snapchat Stories nearly every day.  Spoiler alert = Snapchat is giving these professionals freedom, unlike any other social media application to express themselves as they’d like.

Marci Walton Snapchat sharing RA resources
Marci Walton Snapchat sharing RA resources

Here are some of their responses, including Snapchat username and even examples from their accounts:

Marci Walton (Snapchat Username: MarciKWalton), Associate Director of Residence Life at Xavier University

I love Snapchat because it is the visual equivalent to Twitter: Quick snapshots into people’s lives and the ability to interact, but not the expectation to do so. I use to keep up with friends, but also to enhance student engagement, such as helping create and maintain a training-specific account which RAs sent snaps to, were added to our story, and then any RA could share in what their peers were learning, regardless of whether they attended the session.

Alexandra M. Fields, MSW, LSW (AlexMarieUK), Residence Hall Director, University of Cincinnati

I am drawn to SnapChat because I think it’s one of the most honest, fun social media applications available. It gives you an opportunity to share what is happening in the moment – plus those filters are life changing!

Charlie Potts (PottsCharlie), Asst Dean of Students & Director of Residential Life, Gustavus Adolphus College

Jeff Dess #TrillMotivation
Jeff Dess #TrillMotivation

I enjoy Snapchat because it feels like a living, breathing text message. Quick, creative sharing of experiences feels like a stronger connection to make, even if the pics disappear.

Jeff Dess (MrJeffDess), Assistant Director of Campus Life, New Jersey City University. Public Speaker and Co-Founder with Trill or Not Trill

I’m such a fan of Snapchat because it truly allows you to create full narratives. As a creative and as an educator, I realize the importance of telling authentic stories and Snapchat is the closest social media app to me that allows that.

Jennifer Keegin (ThatKeeginLady), Associate Director for Campus Activities, Binghamton University – State University of New York (SUNY)

I have found that I enjoy Snapchat because I can mix mediums easily. Videos, snapshots etc. mixed with stickers allows me to be super creative. Since I can download My Story, I can keep all of the photos and videos I put together on days that I spent a great deal of time creating an entire experience for viewers. I like to take people into my day – like for example when I have an event on campus or on vacation. I only share things I feel comfortable sharing, but try to when I can to highlight all the aspects of whatever it is I’m sharing. It is very similar to why I started Twitter: to show the “behind the scenes” of events or conferences or etc. and the unique perspective that I have.

*Check out Jennifer on the ACUI Snapchat takeover

Krista Klein Custom Geofilter
Krista Klein having fun with custom geofilters

Krista Klein (Kristaknj), Assistant Dean for Student Affairs, Honors College at Rutgers University

I am drawn to Snapchat because I love its ability to tell stories in a fun, unique, and interactive way.

Getting Started on Snapchat

One of the simplest ways to learn an application is not only just play and experiment, but to follow/observe others you already know on the app. When it comes to student affairs pros who are on Snapchat, I sent out an open call through a few Facebook groups and on Twitter to start crowdsourcing a list of #SApros on Snapchat. Check out this list below. If you want to be part of this list, follow the survey link: #SApros on Snapchat. I will update this post to add to this list as the respondents grow.

#SApros to Follow on Snapchat

Note: The list below is unfiltered, taken directly from the open survey I sent out. It is not a means to endorse or rank any professional over another. If you love learning how other professionals in Higher Education use different social tools – then explore this list!  

Remember if you want to add yourself to this list – take the survey here!



Snapchat Username

Marci Walton

Xavier University


Becca Fick

Ologie (We help Universities tell their story)


Cidnye Weimer

Ohio University


Jeff Dess

New Jersey City University


Paul Gordon Brown



John Austin

Ryerson University


Alexandra Fields

University of Cincinnati


Dan Faill

Elon University


Wimer Alberto

Arizona State University


Grace Bagunu

University of San Diego


Jennifer Keegin

Binghamton University


James Robilotta

Professional Speaker


Jessica Philo

University of Pittsburgh


Chris Conzen

LIM College


Charlie Potts

Gustavus Adolphus College


Laura Pasquini

University of North Texas // Royal Roads University


Tyler Thomas

University of Nebraska-Lincoln


John Sauter

Niagara University


Ann Marie Klotz

New York Institute of Technology


Krista Klein

Rutgers University


Tonantzin Oseguera

Cal State Fullerton


Briana Mathew

New York University


Jenna Day

Franklin College


Alexandra Froehlich

Loyola Marymount University


Lovey Marshall

University of Southern Indiana


Josie Ahlquist

Florida State University


Ed Cabellon

Bridgewater State University


Juhi Bhatt

Rutgers University jbhatt12
Josie Snapchat Icon
Take a picture/scan this image on Snapchat and you’ll find me!

Looking for other people to follow and learn from? Here are a few articles that feature snapchat lists.


Happy Snapping!

About Josie

I’m Dr. Josie Ahlquist—a digital engagement and leadership consultant, researcher, educator, and author. I’m passionate about helping people and organizations find purposeful ways to connect, engage, and tell their unique story. I provide consulting, executive coaching, and training for campuses, companies, and organizations that want to learn how to humanize technology tools and build effective and authentic online communities.

My blog and podcast have been recognized by EdTech Magazine, Inside Higher Ed and the Chronicle of Higher Education. My book, Digital Leadership in Higher Education, was published in 2020 and was listed as a #1 new release for college and university student life. I have been growing my consultancy since 2013 and am based in Los Angeles. When I’m not helping clients lead online, you might find me training for a triathlon, spoiling my nieces and nephews, or exploring with my husband and our rescue dogs in our new RV called Lady Hawk.

I’d love to connect! Find me on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Facebook.

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