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January 23, 2012
By John Trent
Thanks in part to the power of social media as well as the spirit of a campus that apparently loves to electronically gather in substantial numbers for contests that demonstrate an indefatigable pride in the state of Nevada's oldest institution of higher learning, it's been quite a "Wolf Pack Winter" for the University of Nevada, Reno.
Earlier this month, Wolfie Jr., the furry silver and blue symbol of the University's intercollegiate athletics teams, was named the country's top collegiate mascot after winning the Capital One Challenge over a number of seemingly more well-known, BCS-mega-budgeted, mascots. The effort was propelled by, among other things, local groups that organized through social media to vote in numbers that would make any U.S. presidential candidate in Nevada a landslide winner.
Last week, University social media support again went into overdrive.
The University's Facebook page, working in concert with the Office of International Students and Scholars, began marshaling University participation for a contest sponsored by the American International Education Foundation.
At stake: the cover of the USCampus Guide's Spring 2012 edition, which would be awarded to the university or college casting the most votes.
The result was yet another example of what is rapidly becoming a "Wolf Pack Winter" of social media involvement by University students, faculty, staff and alumni.
University supporters cast 1,533 votes to easily win the contest on Friday, Jan. 20. The runner-up, Western New England University, mustered 1,418 votes.
The action was pitched early, as one Nevada student noted on Jan. 18 on the University's Facebook page: "Tied for 1st now it looks like ..." And then, seconds later, the same student noted, "Took the lead as I typed that."
More than a few University students typed in "Like"-minded fashion after that.
The University's wave of support bested universities of all shapes and sizes, from the BCS (University of Florida), the scenic cliffs above the Pacific Ocean (University of California Santa Barbara) to places that really are this side this side of paradise (University of Hawaii-Hilo).
A campus photo highlighting some of the University's newer buildings will now grace the cover of the US Campus Guide's Spring 2012 edition, which carries with it the equivalent of about a $10,000 media buy. The USCampus Guide is published biannually by the American International Education Foundation as a resource to help international students pursue education in the United States. It is distributed in 16 countries.
Quite naturally, the latest example of campus pride catalyzed through social media had those who voted feeling pretty good about their institution.
Wrote one poster when the victory was announced, "Such a beautiful campus, congrats UNR."
To paraphrase and knowingly distort the historical context of the famous line from Rudyard Kipling, "For the strength of the Pack is the Wolf, especially if the Wolf Pack has a decent Facebook page."