University of Akron senior’s social media campaigns help Zips explore the city

August 7, 2018

University of Akron senior’s social media campaigns help Zips explore the city

AKRON, Ohio – University of Akron students from outside the area will now find it easier to identify things to do in and around Akron.

UA senior Nathan Hill created two social media campaigns to help students explore Akron and connect with local businesses.

The first campaign, #ZipsInvade, notifies students about free things at area businesses through spontaneous social media alerts. Another, #Zips100 identifies 100 things in Akron students should do before they graduate.

Hill came up with the idea for #ZipsInvade while serving as an intern with the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Knight works to strengthen informed and engaged communities. Akron is one of 26 Knight cities the foundation invests in to foster civic engagement and attract and retain talent.

Knight is supporting both campaigns, which Hill hopes will showcase Akron and serve as a tool to recruit and retain UA students, he said in a news release.

“I truly believe the University needs the city of Akron, and the city of Akron needs the University,” Hill said in the release. “During my internship at Knight Foundation, I was inspired to find ways to strengthen the connection between the University and the city. I want to help make Akron not only a place where college students explore, but also a place where they want to stay after graduation.”

A #ZipsInvade event is scheduled for Wednesday, August 8, from 3–7 p.m. at Compass Coffee, 647 E. Market Street, in Akron’s Middlebury neighborhood.

The first #ZipsInvade took place at Chill Artisan Ice Cream on Maiden Lane in downtown Akron. To spread the news, the University of Akron used its social media accounts Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter to let students know Chill was offering free ice cream samples.

By presenting their “Zip Cards,” more than 100 UA students received not only a free sample of gourmet ice cream, but a coupon to use when they returned. Another #ZipsInvade drew students downtown to Akron Coffee Roasters for free coffee.

“These campaigns drive interest and investment in the growing downtown area. Our hope is that university students will feel more attached to the larger Akron community and be encouraged to put down roots following graduation,” said Kyle Kutuchief, Knight’s Akron program director, in the release.

The #Zips100 campaign will include activities and attractions on- and off-campus, such as “run through the fountains at Coleman Common” or “find your way out of the corn maze at Szalay’s Farm.” Hill came up with the 100-things idea while traveling with UA’s speech and debate team. At Cornell University he saw a poster listing “100 things to do in Ithaca.”

“I loved this idea, and I wanted to create a similar list that can be done before a student graduates that highlights a mix of both UA and Akron,” Hill said in the release.

At least 10 #ZipsInvade events are planned for this fall and the #Zips100 list will be ongoing throughout the school year.

Want more Akron news? Sign up for cleveland.com’s Rubber City Daily, an email newsletter delivered at 5:30 a.m. Monday through Friday.

Update hourly