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Health Hashtags: Beu Health Ed Twitter to Post Health/Wellness Info. for Students

October 29, 2012


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MACOMB, IL – Jodi Santillie is hoping hashtags will help Western Illinois University students get a better handle on health and wellness. Santillie (Klamath Falls, OR), a graduate student in WIU's college student personnel program (who is completing her required practicum credit hours via Beu Health Center's Health Education Program this semester) recently started a Twitter account for the program (twitter.com/beuhealthed). She said she hopes the Twitter feed will give students vital information about health and wellness.

"With it, we hope to educate students, so we are posting health statistics, health tips, links to articles, as well as information about events and services provided by Beu Health Center and Beu Health Education," she explained. "Since students seem to be using Twitter, it seemed logical to use it as a resource for them to get this information. We also want to use it to find out what they want to know about their health."

According to Santillie, the WIU Beu Health Education Twitter feed will use health and wellness related hashtags (e.g., #health, #wellness) to help spread the word about Beu Health Education. (According to Twitter, people use the hashtag symbol—the pound or number sign, #—before a relevant keyword or phrase in their Tweets to categorize them and help them show up more easily in a Twitter search, see http://bit.ly/XuvKMv.) Santillie added that since @BeuHealthEd is a public Twitter "handle," students will be able to follow the account and ask questions and communicate back and forth with the individual or individuals monitoring it.

"We will answer them to the best of our knowledge and/or direct them to the appropriate services. Right now, I'm monitoring the account, but these duties will be passed to someone else next semester," Santillie added.

JoAnn Hairston-Jones, Beu Health Center's health education coordinator, said with the addition of Twitter—Beu already has a Facebook page at facebook.com/BeuHealthCenter—staff and student workers at Beu are trying to reach students in as many ways as possible.

"What's good about using social media tools like Twitter and Facebook is that students have the choice of liking our page or following us on Twitter," Hairston-Jones said. "Twitter and Facebook complement the Beu Health Education information we distribute, such as our weekly 'Stall Talk' health newsletter, which is coordinated by our graduate assistant Liz Andrews [college student personnel program, Warren, IL]."

Hairston-Jones noted the social media accounts also help disseminate information about Beu Health Education's outreach programs, i.e., the Students T.A.L.K. peer educators group, as well as "Wellness Wednesday Tips," which are coordinated by Beu Health Center Graduate Assistant Becky Moss (Peoria, IL), who is pursuing her master's degree in health sciences.

For more information, contact Beu Health Education at (309) 298-3225. To like Beu Health Center's Facebook page, go to facebook.com/BeuHealthCenter and follow Beu Health Education on Twitter at twitter.com/beuhealthed.

Beu Health Education is located in the east wing of Seal Hall, room 217.

Posted By: Teresa Koltzenburg (TE-Koltzenburg@wiu.edu)
Office of University Relations