Friday, December 18, 2020
  Alumni, Announcements

By Maria Elena Hernandez

RIO GRANDE VALLEY, TEXAS – UTRGV recently won a Texas Social Media Award, highlighting its work on keeping the university community informed during the COVID-19 pandemic.


The Texas Social Media Research Institute awarded UTRGV first place in the public universities category. During the online presentation, Dr. Jennifer Edwards, the institute's executive director, said, "We're very excited about everything that they are doing to keep their faculty, staff and students informed about the COVID-19 pandemic. They had the most engaging messages on Twitter."


UTRGV Director of Digital Marketing & Marketing Analytics Josse "Alex" Garrido said the team took the approach of overcommunicating. "In an area of uncertainty, we wanted to provide as much certainty as possible. And, so through social media, Judith (Adame), our social media manager, managed to coordinate all the content that we were producing across different areas. And then we would craft persuasive, targeted and honestly very effective messaging that helped our students both stay safe and focused on their studies."


That content included “Stay Safe” videos, which he said performed particularly well.


Related Link: Commitment to Safety and Success YouTube Playlist


And the expertise available from UT Health RGV and the UTRGV School of Medicine faculty became a vital resource. "We found that the community relied on the university messaging as a primary source of trusted information about what's going on with the whole coronavirus situation," said Garrido.


Adame, the UTRGV social media manager, said listening is also an important part of the work. "We like to listen. And, so because we're listening, I think that's helped us put together a lot of the messages during this pandemic," she said.


Adame and Garrido said the work recognized was the result of a team effort. Garrido said, "We wish it were under different circumstances, but we're appreciative that they recognize how much we care about our community and how important it is for us to keep our community safe."


You can find a list of the main UTRGV social media accounts and other university social media accounts on the UTRGV Social Media Directory.


The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) was created by the Texas Legislature in 2013 as the first major public university of the 21st century in Texas. This transformative initiative provided the opportunity to expand educational opportunities in the Rio Grande Valley, including a new School of Medicine, and made it possible for residents of the region to benefit from the Permanent University Fund – a public endowment contributing support to the University of Texas System and other institutions.

UTRGV has campuses and off-campus research and teaching sites throughout the Rio Grande Valley including in Boca Chica Beach, Brownsville (formerly The University of Texas at Brownsville campus), Edinburg (formerly The University of Texas-Pan American campus), Harlingen, McAllen, Port Isabel, Rio Grande City, and South Padre Island. UTRGV, a comprehensive academic institution, enrolled its first class in the fall of 2015, and the School of Medicine welcomed its first class in the summer of 2016.