In a world consumed by the COVID-19 pandemic, digital communication has been at the forefront of many people’s lives. From Zoom meetings to the constant onslaught of emails, more and more conversations have turned virtual. Social media, too, has taken a larger role in our lives on a day-to-day basis.
Throughout the past Fall 2021 semester, I have served as the Social Media Intern for the Department of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. The COVID-19 pandemic has put pressure on my department to be critically engaged with the surrounding higher education community. Without the convenience of assured in-person interactions, social media has become an integral part of how we talk to students and people affiliated with the Religious Studies department. Primarily collaborating with the Undergraduate Director and Business Coordinator of Religious Studies, I manage the social media pages for our department, including Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. I post about student/faculty spotlights, events within our department, and other opportunities that are provided by Religious Studies at Charlotte. In addition, I regularly like, comment, and share other posts from other universities’ departments and Charlotte’s departments to create an integrated community where various, different ideas are shared in a common space.
Apart from social media, I have created a bi-monthly newsletter for the Department of Religious Studies. Writing the newsletter has to be my favorite responsibility within my internship. Designing something that connects our small-sized department with the larger UNC Charlotte community is quite fulfilling. I have the opportunity to showcase the excellence of the Religious Studies Department, while also highlighting students’ work - which I find incredibly engaging in learning more and more about fellow peers with every passing day.
Moving forward, I am excited to continue my work as a Social Media Intern, and I hope to continue growing and striving in my academic field, learning about how the academic study of religion can intersect with the world through digital/social media.