Forever A Chanticleer

Graduating students at Coastal Carolina University are reminded of something at every commencement. At the end of the ceremony a representative from the Office of Alumni Relations will take the podium to encourage the new grads to keep in touch with the University. The last words of the address, regardless of who is delivering it, are always the same:

Remember, you will forever be a Chanticleer!

Although I did not graduate from CCU, I like to think that the sentiment can be applicable to departing staff members as well.

I recently concluded my time at Coastal Carolina University.

My time at Coastal Carolina University recently concluded. As of last Friday at 5 p.m., I am no longer an employee of #TEALnation. I have accepted a position at another university and will start next month. To all my colleagues who I did not get to say goodbye to, I apologize. I intended to let everyone know about my departure in person but the early delivery of our son and a stay in the NICU changed those plans. 

I have thoroughly enjoyed working at Coastal Carolina, something I hope to make clear with a couple blog posts over the next week. Without the opportunity I received almost six years ago to serve this special place, my life would be completely different and much less fulfilling. I owe the world to CCU.

Due to life events (you know, like having a baby?!) and thanks to the overwhelming patience and understanding of my new employer, I will be around the area for several more weeks. I am blessed to have the opportunity to be a stay-at-home dad for nearly a month. This transition period will allow me to spend precious days with Sloan and bond with Beau.

My wife is the best. Despite everything going on with our growing family, she has given me the blessing to pursue this opportunity. What more can I say?

CCU, it is time for me to properly thank you. I will do this by reflecting on the events and people that made my tenure so memorable. Stay tuned, there is more to come. Don’t Blink.

Five Reasons Why My Work Week Rocked

The first 100 days of my new job have passed by quickly. However, the feeling of excitement and thankfulness that I had at the beginning has not passed quickly. It is as strong as ever. This week has been great. Staying true to my Thursday rapid-fire topic theme I will once again jump from subject to subject but it will all relate to this week at Coastal Carolina University.

Social Media Dream Team Meeting – One of my tasks in my position is to meet with my fellow social media leaders on campus. After sending out twice-a-month e-mail updates to this group we call the “Dream Team,” we finally had our first face-to-face meeting on Monday morning. I had the pleasure of sitting down with some of the major social media players at CCU including: our athletics marketing director, our dean of students, our celebrity dining services director, the leader of CCU’s student customer service program, and our assistant alumni director. We talked for almost 90 minutes about social media (and some other issues) at Coastal Carolina. Although I was running the meeting I probably spoke the least but learned the most. It was awesome.

CCUSA on WMBF – On Tuesday I was humbled when WMBF reporter Mandy Noell called me up and asked if she could do a story on our CCUSA campaign. Absolutely! It didn’t take long for Mandy to get to campus, take the footage she needed inside our offices, and then interview me outside of the Singleton Building. While I thought that my terrible news interviews ended in Montana they unfortunately carried over to South Carolina as well. No matter, Mandy was a true professional and pretty much washed away my awkwardness on camera with an awesome report, one that was praised by our own media legend, Martha Hunn. I was very thankful for the coverage that WMBF gave us. Click here to view the story.

Mandy Noell from WMBF interviews me about CCU Social Media.

Mandy Noell from WMBF interviews me about CCU Social Media (Thanks to Mona Prufer for the photo).

On Camera Again – On Wednesday, Kevin Olivett of Chanticleer Athletics invited me to go around and help cover a pretty cool deal. Athletic Director Matt Hogue and Chauncey were presenting Big South Conference football championship rings to staff members who were season ticket holders. Along with the video guy from athletics I would take video/photos when we would enter the offices. Well, I was given quite the surprise when the camera was turned in my direction. Before I knew it, Matt was presenting me with two rings. You see, I had recently become a Chant football season ticket holder. However, I thought the ring promotion was just for people who had season tickets during the actual 2013 championship season. Nope! Click here to see my reaction.

My surprised face as I stand between Coastal Carolina University Athletic Director Matt Hogue and Chauncey.

My surprised face as I stand between Coastal Carolina University Athletic Director Matt Hogue and Chauncey.

Board of Trustees Meeting – Today I was invited by my boss, Associate Vice President Bill Plate, to attend his presentation to the Board of Trustees. He told me that he wanted to introduce me to these extremely important individuals. Only he did a little more than just that. After he asked me to stand for the formal introduction he proceeded to build me up incredibly in front of the Board. He explained the whole CCUSA campaign, talked about some of the other things I am doing, and mentioned the increases our social media program has seen in the past few months. I felt so honored! It made my whole week and made me walk out of work with a huge smile on my face.

A photo from today's Board of Trustees meeting.

A photo from today’s Board of Trustees meeting.

Graduation on Saturday – This Saturday morning Coastal will hold its summer commencement. When I started working at CCU at the beginning of May I arrived just in time for spring commencement. I had such a fun time working that event and although the summer graduation is much smaller I am looking forward to the occasion. It will put an exclamation point on a magnificent week for me.

Myself at the CCU spring graduation in May.

Myself at the CCU spring graduation in May.


I hope many of you out there like your job as much as me. I am truly blessed. Have a great evening! Don’t Blink.

#CCU Social Media Adds Snapchat

As I am sure many of you are sick of hearing, I thoroughly enjoy my new job. Having the opportunity to develop a social media program at a different university from where I was previously has reignited my love even more for all things social. While I have implemented some of the strategies I used at Montana here at Coastal Carolina I have also had the chance to try some new things.

This week we introduced our #CCU Snapchat channel. Because of my workload and our audience, I never started one at UM. However, at Coastal Carolina University it just made perfect sense. With the mass amount of people using the service, an age demographic that aligns with exactly who we are trying to reach, and many mechanisms to creatively send out information it made perfect sense to utilize Snapchat.

Oh, one additional reason why it appealed to me? Not many colleges are on it. I don’t know if maybe they don’t understand it or if they don’t think they can communicate effectively with it but you don’t see many university Snapchat accounts. To get ahead of other institutions and reach out to the younger generation in the way they are communicating the most these days it was necessary for Coastal Carolina Social Media to establish a Snapchat presence. Thankfully our Vice President for Communication and my boss, Bill Plate, was well ahead of the game and reserved our social media handle (CCUChanticleers) on Snapchat long ago. With that piece already completed I launched our account simply by creating a graphic, doing some quick marketing on our social media channels, and then adding the users that instantaneously flooded our account.

#CCU Social Media opened up its Snapchat account for business!

#CCU Social Media opened up its Snapchat account for business!

I have participated personally in the Snapchat game for a long time now so I am pretty well versed in it but I was surprised by a few things while interacting with our audience. First off, they are YOUNG. Besides the college students that jumped on board with us there is an outrageous amount of kids that look nine years old who are on the service. Secondly, these young adults/kids are creative! I was laughing at and admiring many of the snaps that kept coming into our inbox. Besides the art that many of them can create on their snaps they are also witty and resourceful. Thirdly, they all have great appreciation for Coastal Carolina. I received a fair share of “Go Chant” snaps but I also received snaps from students stating that they can’t wait to get back to campus or that they are counting down the days until they get here for the first time. It was cool to see that pride over a social media outlet where I had never seen it before.

I really enjoy some of the creativity I have seen sent to our Snapchat channel.

I really enjoy some of the creativity I have seen sent to our Snapchat channel (thanks to Admissions)

Over the first few days of utilizing the #CCU Snapchat account I have just had fun with it. I like to send our “friends” (as they are called on Snapchat) generic snaps wishing them good morning or updating them on the weather on campus. I have also sent useful messages notifying them about the posting of grades or how to access our other social media accounts. Last night I ran a little promotion where I asked our friends to snap a photo of any Coastal Carolina logo. The first person who did so would win a prize. We received around 30 responses. Even about two hours after that snap went out our account was still receiving logo photos.

Just a few of the great snaps we got when we asked our friends to send us a CCU logo.

Just a few of the great snaps we got when we asked our friends to send us a CCU logo.

I encourage you to see how Coastal Carolina Social Media is utilizing Snapchat by friending us by searching “CCUChanticleers”. There are lots of possibilities for higher education institutions to creatively connect with their student audience through Snapchat and I am glad that #CCU is on it sooner than later. Don’t Blink.