Walking across the stage to receive a diploma is a rite of passage for graduates.
But with the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and social distancing measures in place, the Class of 2020 won’t have the opportunity to participate in that milestone walk.
Credit unions are supporting those graduates through the #weCUgrads social media campaign.
“Our goal is to get at least one credit union in every state to participate,” says Amanda Knodel, chief operations officer at $73 million asset Pinnacle Credit Union in Atlanta. “We might be able to get #weCUgrads trending and show a positive light on the credit union world and the strength we have by working together.”
Join us to honor and celebrate 2020 graduating seniors! May 4 - 8th, we will feature seniors and their accomplishments on social media and having a contest through our Instagram account! #weCUgrads #2020seniors #AllInThisTogether pic.twitter.com/Noe6DXER2H— Pinnacle Credit Union (@Pinnacle_CU) April 24, 2020
The social media campaign came to life during a discussion Knodel was having with some of her fellow CUNA Management School classmates, who work at credit unions in Georgia, Minnesota, Michigan, and Kansas. They were looking for a way to support their communities during the pandemic.
“We talked about the plight of the graduate this year and the opportunities that have changed due to the pandemic,” says Joel Strozewski, SEG branch manager at $122 million asset Heartland Credit Union in Inver Grove Heights, Minn. “What better way to celebrate our graduates than to put the power of people helping people across the country to work?”
So far, 80 credit unions representing 30 states have committed to participating in the effort.
During the week of May 4, credit unions will use the hashtag #weCUgrads in their social media feeds to celebrate graduates in their communities. Each credit union can approach the social media effort differently.
‘What better way to celebrate our graduates than to put the power of people helping people across the country to work?’
Pinnacle is asking graduates to post their photos daily and will randomly select one person to receive a gift card from a local business.
Other credit unions will create photo montages of submitted photos.
The group chose the week of May 4 because while graduations occur at different times across the country, the first week of May allows the credit union to begin the month with a “happy” spin. It’s also a way to kick off the graduation season, Knodel says.
“The impact of the pandemic is vast,” Strozewski says. “This group provided a creative way to shine a light and demonstrate how we are all in this together.”
Credit unions that want to participate can contact Knodel to learn more and receive a “starter pack” of information to get the credit union ready.
The CUNA Creative Hub is adding customizable #weCUgrads materials to use in the campaign.