Alumni Association uses TikTok to reach wider audience
The account was launched in 2021 as a new way for alumni to stay connected with the Yale community.
Zoe Berg, Senior Photographer
The idea of creating an official TikTok was proposed by the YAA marketing and communications team to further their larger mission of engaging alumni by finding new ways to reach them.
“We do this on TikTok by featuring exciting glimpses of campus happenings, advice and stories from fellow alumni, updates on alumni benefits, and more,” Carissa Violante, associate director of digital marketing at the Alumni Association, wrote in an email to the News.
One look at the @YaleAlumni page yields a slew of videos on a wide range of topics, from the best spots to relax on campus to alumni’s favorite memories of Yale. The account has also done a series of TikToks asking alumni at class reunions to “Finish the Lyrics” from a song that was popular the year they graduated.
Boasting almost 500 followers, the TikTok account is run by the YAA’s marketing and communications team, along with a student social media assistant.
“We always welcome opportunities to collaborate with other organizations on campus,” Violante wrote.
Recently, @YaleAlumni partnered with Yale Hospitality to give their followers a look at Fall Fest 2022. Last year, they teamed up with the Yale Alumni Fund and the Office of Development to document the Food Truck Fest.
The main intended audience of the TikToks is alumni, but the page also hopes to provide information for current and prospective students.
The Eli Ambassador Program was launched by the YAA in 2021 to give alumni a platform to share their stories through social media. This year, there are four alumni serving as Eli Ambassadors. They have been creating short videos about their experiences at Yale to be posted on the Alumni Association’s TikTok and Instagram accounts.
“I love content creation and the Yale community, so when Carissa approached me with the idea to document my last semester at Yale and the transition to post-grad life, I was all on board,” Eli Ambassador Jacob Cramer ’22 told the News.
As an Eli Ambassador, Cramer has created TikToks sharing his favorite peaceful places at Yale, service opportunities he loves and a vlog of commencement.
Eraina Ferguson DIV ’10 sees being an Eli Ambassador as a way to connect with other alumni and tell her Yale story. She especially treasures the opportunity to share her experiences at the Divinity School, a part of the university that is oftentimes “not represented in the Yale alumni narrative.”
Ferguson described TikTok as a platform that has the ability to reach a bigger, intergenerational audience and make Yale more accessible.
“I think TikTok is a way to humanize Yalies,” Ferguson explained. “Because a lot of times people think that the Ivy League schools are untouchable, or we may be stuffy, or they have this kind of WASP view of what it’s like to be a Yalie. I feel like TikTok has been a way to not just tell Yale alumni about the Yale experience, but to serve as an educational platform for what life is like at Yale.”
The application for the 2023 cohort of Eli Ambassadors is now open.