Embracing a Hashtag: Education Group Adopts #YouAreWelcomeHere

With the homegrown hashtag proving greatly successful as a marketing tool among its members, NAFSA has officially taken ownership of #YouAreWelcomeHere and will support the campaign’s growth.

The latest effort by the international education group NAFSA is an ideal example of a grassroots campaign gaining institutional support.

Since 2016, the #YouAreWelcomeHere social media campaign, launched via two videos by the academic firm Study Group and Temple University, has helped to show public support to global students looking to attend school in the United States.

The effort soon went viral, with the Temple University video leading to schools around the country (such as Texas A&M University, Kingsville, above) embracing the hashtag in their international marketing efforts.

The campaign, which further expanded with a scholarship program in 2018, will now be managed by NAFSA.

In comments to The Pie News, NAFSA Executive Director and CEO Esther D. Brimmer said the campaign “is profoundly consistent with the association’s values.”

“This remarkable grassroots campaign has spread the important message that international students and scholars are welcome here,” Brimmer said.

Jessica Sandberg, who helped formalize the campaign while serving as Temple University’s director of international admissions, said that NAFSA, which was an early supporter of the effort, was the perfect permanent home for the campaign.

“It has been incredibly rewarding to watch it evolve from a tiny grassroots project to the unofficial global slogan of U.S. higher education,” Sandberg, now the dean of enrollment at China’s Duke Kunshan University, added in comments to The Pie News. “This little idea has made quite a journey, and I can think of no better destination for #YAWH than a permanent home at NAFSA.”

Temple will continue to play a key role in the campaign’s growth through a position on an advisory board. Martyn J. Miller, Temple’s assistant vice president for international affairs, noted in a news release that the handover is intended to allow the campaign to further grow.

“We look forward to continuing to work together with NAFSA and our other university partners in the campaign to ensure that international students around the world consider the United States their first choice as they plan to pursue higher education,” Miller said.

A scene from a promo video using the #YouAreWelcomeHere hashtag, by Texas A&M University, Kingsville. (YouTube screenshot)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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