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Student organizations, employers find Facebook potential

With Facebook now more than 9.5 million users strong, an increasing number of student organizations and employers are looking to the Internet site for help recruiting new members and employees.

Student organizations are able to create groups detailing the club’s activities or upcoming events. The groups may also feature links to the profiles or e-mail addresses of executive board members.

Bernardita Yunis, the president of the University of Miami’s chapter of Amnesty International, said that at least four students have contacted the organization through its Facebook group since last semester to learn more about Amnesty International.

“People see the group and want to get involved so they try to reach us,” she said.

Leah Weston, a junior and transfer student, used Facebook to contact Amnesty International over the summer to ensure she would be involved this school year.

She said attending meetings and getting involved can be difficult for students because of chaotic schedules, but that Facebook groups are useful because one does not have to “go through hoops” to get directly to the organization.

Organizations may also create event invitations through Facebook, which may publicize a sponsored event to any number of people.

Max Kelerstein, president of spectrUM, said that his group sends event invitations not only to their Facebook group members, but also to Facebook friends who may be interested in the event.

“We use Facebook as a promotional tool,” he said, noting that they do not send out random group invitations or messages.

Kelerstein said that for spectrUM and probably many other student organizations, the listserv is still the primary means of communication. When students contact him with questions via Facebook, he always asks if they would like to be added to the mass e-mail list.

Amnesty International uses the listserv as a first means of communication and Facebook as an extra reminder, Yunis said.

For employers, Facebook has added a new dimension to worker recruitment. Calling Canes, a student-run telemarketing service that contacts alumni for donations, has a Facebook group with over 100 members.

“We use it mainly as a form of communication between current employees,” said Steven Raymond, assistant director of telemarketing.

As for actively recruiting through Facebook, Raymond said that Calling Canes has not explored the option yet.

Other student organizations agree, though they use Facebook as a tool in other ways. Yunis said the site helps Amnesty International keep track of members.

Among the new additions to Facebook is the ability to join work networks, which give users the ability to connect with people with company peers from all over the global Facebook network.

“Facebook still seems like it should be more informal and friend oriented to me,” Roy Kohl, a senior, said. “If organizations started using Facebook as their main way of communicating, they wouldn’t be able to reach everyone because not everyone has a Facebook [account].”

Stacey Weitz may be contacted at s.weitz1@umiami.edu.

October 3, 2006

Reporters

The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami


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