Student athletes from VWU were the protagonists of the Instagram takeovers on the official Marlins profile. Through Instagram stories, they previewed the daily life of a student athlete.The first student athlete who took control of the Instagram account was junior Kathryn Yeager from the volleyball team.
“I was a little bit uncomfortable at first because I was the first person to do the Instagram takeover. Once I got used to it, it wasn’t bad at all,” Yeager said.
The students who were involved in the Instagram takeovers used the “Ask me a question” filter to engage students and faculty.
“I expected for incoming students to have a lot of questions,” Yeager said. She added, “It has been awesome to see all the teams do their own spin on their takeovers the past few weeks.”
Junior Christopher Morris from the VWU Baseball team, also was one of the participants of the Instagram takeover. “There was a big expectation,” Morris said. Morris was representing the first men’s team to do the takeover.
The VWU Marlins page has more than 2,000 followers. “At first it was very nerve-racking. Posting the first video on the Instagram story to where all of the 2,000+ followers would see was a bit scary,” Morris said. However, as the day went on he expressed that it became much easier to answer the questions and post other videos. “By the end of the day I was posting more content from practices and workouts so there was no nerve to that at all,” Morris said.
Morris expressed that overall, this takeover was a success. He said that the videos that he posted gave a good perception and produced a lot of questions on what the baseball practices look like. “The baseball takeover saw a good student participation when it came to asking questions. There were multiple students that asked legitimate, well thought out questions and it kind of surprised me,” Morris said. Morris affirmed that these takeovers were a good visual for other students to see what is to be a student athlete on campus.
The idea of the Instagram takeovers was by Sports Information Intern Liza Bolen. Bolen has already done this in other schools within the ODAC and thought that these takeovers would be a fun way to show the new normal that student athletes have now because of COVID-19. One of the expectations of these takeovers was also to raise awareness to VWU athletics as a whole. “At VWU we try to lead by example and we hope that this encourages other schools to do the same with their student athletes,” Sports Information Director Alysse Scripter said.
The Sports Information office and student athletes went over a set of guidelines that each team was to follow. One of the guidelines was that students participating on these takeovers had to wear the mask at all times, no exceptions. No nudity, alcohol, slander or curse words was allowed in these takeovers. Student athletes had the responsibility of representing VWU in a positive, exciting and fun way.
The availability of student athletes participating in these takeovers were because of the downtime that they have right now compared to a traditional season. “We more than likely will not carry this over into the spring,” Scripter said. Student athletes expressed that Instagram takeovers on game day is a good idea for other students to see their daily routine before game time, but they also think that this can bring distraction from the main focus: to win. Morris pointed out that doing the takeover was a great experience, but it was a large responsibility. “I think having that on game day would take away from the important responsibility of bringing home a win for the Marlins,” Morris said.
By Steven Cruz