'New Parent' chat will use social media to connect with new Slug families

On August 27 at 7 p.m. UC Santa Cruz will host a “New Parent Chat,” live on Facebook with a panel of three experts.

A daughter stands next to her mother, who is sitting. Daughter has arm around mom.

 New parents can ask questions about housing, dining, student life and more during a special parent chat with UC Santa Cruz experts, Aug. 27 at 7 p.m. 

Parents of incoming Banana Slugs will soon have a chance to ask candid questions and concerns with a group of campus experts without ever having to leave their homes, jump in their cars, or even turn off their home computers.

On Wednesday, August 27, from 7 to 8 p.m., UC Santa Cruz will harness the power of social media during a “New Parent Chat,” a live Facebook event featuring a panel of three experts representing  colleges, housing, and orientation, to talk about the upcoming  academic year.

Topics will include campus life, housing, dining, and any other subject that crosses the parents’ minds.

While parents who participate will enjoy the dynamic of a "real time" conversation, those who miss out can also benefit; the questions and comments will remain on Facebook, so parents can visit the page and still contribute to the dialogue even when the live portion of the discussion is over.

Here’s how to join in if you are a new UC Santa Cruz parent:

  • Log in to Facebook on 8/27 at 7 p.m.

  • Go to https://www.facebook.com/ucsantacruz

  • Then, after “liking” the page, look for the post about the LIVE Facebook chat

  • At that point you can comment and ask questions at will, then sit back and watch the answers roll in from the expert panel, who will all be gathered in one room on campus.

"Nothing like this has been done before here at UC Santa Cruz for parents,” said Carolyn Golz, college administrative officer at Cowell and Stevenson colleges, who is part of the panel of experts.

Aside from Golz, the panel will also include UC Santa Cruz’s orientation director, Rosa Plaza; and Chris Banks, manager of marketing and communications for Colleges, Housing and Educational Services.

While this real-time Facebook chat for new parents is unprecedented on campus, staff already use social media to connect with students as well as parents.

"Two weeks ago a student tweeted about being nervous about orientation, and she was coming to the overnight program on campus," Golz said. "So I reached out to her and we talked. She told me she was having a great time at orientation."

"I've sometimes seen students tweet that they are concerned about something; but when they get a response —'hey, how can I help?' —it leaves them feeling so much better. It is amazing to see how that kind of engagement can turn it around."

She also said that online discussions can be empowering for those who are less inclined to speak up. She includes herself in that category; "I find this approach very useful as an introvert," she said. "I am not going to introduce myself in a room with a bunch of strangers but I can do this online."

The goal of the chat is to increase parent engagement and provide resources for parents using UC Santa Cruz social media.