2015 Tarver Interns Lead Workshop for Area Professionals
By Emily Hollenbach '18
On January 20, 2016, students Gabrielle Gerber ’17 and Kristen Semple ’17 led a workshop for over
100 nonprofit professionals at an event sponsored by the United Way of the Dutchess-Orange Region
(UWDOR). Entitled “#How to Hashtag: Making Social Media Work for Your Nonprofit,” the talk focused
on the usefulness of social media platforms, specifically Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, for organizations
seeking to publicize their initiatives.
Ms. Gerber and Ms. Semple's talk drew upon their experiences in the Tarver
Summer Internship Program administered by the Center for Civic Engagement
and Leadership at Marist. As a Summer 2015 Tarver Intern, Ms. Gerber
developed new social media strategies for UWDOR. Ms. Semple’s Tarver
Internship included similar initiatives for the Hudson River Sloop Clearwater.
The students’ talk emphasized the importance of tailoring social media outreach to particular demographics.
Ms. Gerber recounted, “Both of us have worked on social media for organizations before, so we tried to use
our personal experiences with hashtagging and posting to explain how audience members could optimize
their interactions with followers and other users." Their presentation concluded with an interactive exercise
in which attendees were grouped into teams and tested on their newfound hashtagging expertise. Following
the workshop, Professor Jennie Donahue (Department of Communication) delivered a lecture highlighting
video campaigns as a key method through which organizations can effectively “tell their stories” to the public.
CCEL Director Dr. Melissa Gaeke said that "the students’ ideas drew very positive
responses from participants. They were impressed and engaged by the workshop
and requested that the presentation be sent to them.” For her part, Ms. Semple
said the talk and her work as a Tarver Intern have aided her professional aspirations:
“I have always wanted to work with nonprofits, so being able to teach how to use
social media has been a great way for me to make my way into the industry.”