Memorial Union video series to connect with students at home


A “MU 2 You” video series hosted by Memorial Union event management staff is bringing the Memorial Union to the living rooms of students during this time of social distancing.

Julia Benda

With students taking classes from home, Iowa State is bringing opportunities and experiences to students online.

The “MU 2 You” video series was hosted by event management staff Jessica Erickson, Memorial Union clerk, and Ashley Snyder, program coordinator for Memorial Union and distance education graduate student of apparel, events and hospitality management. The video offered career information for students.

Snyder interviewed Erickson about the transition from student to full-time professional. The video highlights some of Erickson’s tips and tricks for job searching, interviews, connecting in the workplace and other information.

Snyder, who works as an event management manager and Erickson, a wedding and event coordinator, said the Memorial Union is often called the “living room” of campus, which gave them the idea for the MU 2 You campaign and video series.

The video series and campaign started when they decided to bring the best of the Memorial Union to students’ living rooms.

“We want to stay connected with students and provide a resource to stay engaged while they are away from campus,” Snyder and Erickson said in a joint email. “We focus on real world experiences and issues that may not traditionally be covered in the classroom and give students the opportunity to hear honest stories from past students.”

The pair have future episodes of the video series that will feature programs and resources within the Memorial Union that are available to students. These episodes will highlight the Center for LGBTQIA+ Student Success and the International Students and Scholars Office, along with their current opportunities for student engagement.

Erickson and Snyder said a top priority for their staff is to stay connected with students and find ways to support them virtually during this time of social distancing.

The Memorial Union’s Event Management Office has a weekly zoom meeting scheduled to check in with students because they think it is essential to provide a space where students can ask questions and share concerns. Students are able to talk about their classes, family, finances, living situations and share the overall highs and lows of their daily lives.

Snyder and Erickson also said this gives their full-time staff space to share some of the opportunities for engagement directly with students and encourage them to stay involved even when not physically on campus.

“Students are utilizing resources such as Zoom, Webex and Microsoft Teams more than ever to stay connected,” Snyder and Erickson said in a joint email. “In our upcoming video, our MU tech gurus share tips and tricks for how to stay focused and engaged while using virtual resources.”

They have also seen a lot of connection and engagement from students through their social media channels.

Though still in the early stages of MU 2 You web series, Erickson and Snyder have generated nearly 200 views on their introduction video and the first episode.

The first two videos featured four alumni from the Event Management Office, and Erickson and Snyder plan to feature more students in future web videos.

“We have already had requests from professors in the AESHM department to share the content focused on student development and the transition from being a college student to becoming a professional in their online classes,” Snyder and Erickson said in a joint email.

Erickson and Snyder said they are working to be innovative with virtual resources but are still planning for events in the future. The pair said they are keeping in mind that future events will look different and are considering the safety of those attending by considering room capacities, cleaning protocols, food packaging options and more.

Many Iowa State departments have found an innovative approach to virtualizing programming and resources for students. Some of the virtual resources the Memorial Union is offering includes the MU 2 You web series and newsletter, the MU 2 You Virtual Trivia Night, Art 2 Go kits, virtual art exhibits and MU Leadership 2 You. Students are able to access these resources and more on the Memorial Union website “Making Memories with My MU”.

Students can also access a list of opportunities to develop leadership and service skills curated by the Leadership and Service Center staff on the Student Activities Center website.