We couldn’t have asked for a nicer day for Spring Commencement at UNC’s Kenan Stadium. The sun was shining and the sky was the right shade of blue. For the first time in many years, the graduating seniors sat on the field, rather than the bleachers. The view from the stands was stunning.

Carolina graduates at graduation at Kenan Stadium
Look at all of that Carolina blue! Photo by Melanie Busbee/UNC-Chapel Hill.

As the UNC Events staff tested the on-field seating, UNC’s social media team also tried a few new things this year.

First, we showcased tweets and Instagram posts on the scoreboard as audience members were taking their seats before the ceremony started. We asked the graduates and their family and friends to tag their content with #UNCgrad. Sarah Derreberry, UNC’s director of advertising and communication strategy, chose which posts to profile on the scoreboard and worked with the new media staff in the Athletics Department to get the content displayed. These social media posts rotated with a slide show of photos taken at Carolina throughout the year. The example below shows what an Instagram post looked like on the scoreboard.

Instagram post on the scoreboard at graduation

We also offered on-demand Snapchat geofilters for the first time. These geofilters could be accessed at Kenan Stadium and in popular post-graduation areas on campus such as Polk Place and the Old Well. UNC Creative, our on-campus creative agency, designed the filters that are at the bottom of the photos below.

  Seniors celebrate at graduation Seniors celebrating at graduation

The geofilters were a big hit. They were used 4,382 times that day. The more popular geofilter featured the Ram and was used 2,409 times, while the more formal filter was used 1,973 times. Snapchat charges users for the on-demand geofilters based on location and the amount of time they are offered. To try to reach the most people, we allowed users to access the geofilters at Kenan Stadium for about four hours before and during graduation and at Polk Place and the Old Well for a few hours after graduation.

We tried out a few new things the week leading up to graduation, too. We asked a few seniors to take over our Snapchat account for a day to show off some of their favorite campus spots. A special thanks to Jeremy McKeller, Elizabeth McFarland and Louis Fernandez for participating. A few weeks earlier, another senior, Joshua Woodward, took over our Snapchat account as he participated in the UNC General Alumni Association’s Senior Bell Tower Climb.

We also created videos of a few Carolina graduates talking about what they will miss most about UNC or offering advice to incoming students. We posted those videos on Twitter. Here’s one of senior Krista McGuire. The videos didn’t take a lot of time or equipment. We used an iPhone, a microphone and a tripod for the recording. Philip Jones from the social media team edited the videos using iMovie.

The Friday before graduation, former UNC glee club members gathered at the Old Well to sing the alma mater, 50 years after they completed a European tour. We had used Facebook Live a few times before and decided that would be the best way to showcase the short concert. Philip shot the video, which has been viewed 60,000 times. More than 600 people have shared the post. Those are great numbers for one of our posts.


Former members of the UNC Men's Club sing Hark the Sound at the Old Well
Former members of the UNC Men’s Club sing Hark the Sound during graduation weekend.


Finally, Deseré Cross on the social media team created these social media banner and cover photos for seniors (and their parents) to download. We hope to offer more of these customized downloads throughout the school year.

Downloadable Facebook cover photo featuring Carolina graduates

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