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Making a Statement in 140 Characters or Less: Understanding Social Media Use as a Medium for Student Activism & Development


Presenter: Brittany Philbert

Professional Title: Hall Director in University Housing

Institution: Florida State University

Background Experience: Brittany Philbertreceived her bachelor’s of arts degree in criminal justice and history from La Salle University and is completing her master’s degree in higher education at Florida State.  Brittany’s research interests include student activism, multicultural education, and higher education policy.  Additionally, Brittany is a proud member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated.


LaFarin-Meriwether--150x150.jpgPresenter: LaFarin Meriwether

Professional Title: Residence Coordinator, University Housing

Institution: The Florida State University

Background Experience: Working in university housing has provided LaFarin Meriwether with a different classroom to teach and develop college students.  She received a bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics and an additional degree in agricultural education, communication, and leadership from the University of Kentucky. She has an M.B. A. from the University of Cincinnati.


Kimberly-Kolk-150x150.jpgPresenter: Kimberly Kolk

Professional Title: Assistant Coordinator, University Housing

Institution: The Florida State University

Background Experience: Kimberly Kolk is a second-year graduate student at Florida State University pursuing her master’s in higher education with a concentration in student affairs. She also serves as a member of the Florida State University Higher Education Student Association executive board. Her areas of interest within higher education include hazing prevention, social media, alcohol education, and working with students with disabilities.



The purpose of this presentation is to discuss how the millennial student, the dominant user of social media, utilizes social networking sites (SNs) as tools for social activism. Today’s college students have been characterized as ego-centric, self-serving, and apathetic. However, current literature on the subject of millennial social media usage suggests an alternative perspective. This viewpoint emphasizes their focus on staying connected, building community, raising awareness, and making an impact…a new form of activism.

Important Question Explored: “How can student affairs practitioners use millennials’ social media participation to assist in the development of millennials’ character, values, and civic involvement?”

Extension of Session Experience: Participants attending this conference session will gain information on how to utilize social media to understand what college students are talking about and what they deem important in the world. This information will allow participants to understand the benefits of using social media sites as tools/resources to gauge students’ thoughts and opinions. Additionally, the presentation will discuss the ways in which practitioners can encourage college students to use social media as agents to bring about social change and foster civic involvement.