Trustee turns to Twitter to recruit

Omar Woodard turned to social media last week to fill his soon-to-expire recent alumni seat on the Board of Trustees.

The social media listings received more than double the nine responses garnered by an e-mail blast by the GW Alumni Association.

“If you have finished any degree at #GWU (law, medical, grad,etc) in the last 5 yrs and interested in being a Trustee, DM me,” Woodard’s Tweet asked.

Woodard said his account is not official, but noted the growing importance of social media in his outreach efforts to the GW community.

“It’s a personal Twitter feed, but in my role as a trustee, I take very seriously the role of ambassador,” Woodard said, adding that he regularly uses Twitter and Facebook to solicit feedback from the University community. “Part of my role as a young alumni trustee is to make sure that the board is hearing from a diverse group of alumni and students.”

He received seven responses on the 140-characters-or-less website and 13 more via Facebook.

Woodard – a former Student Association and Black Student Union president and Colonial Cabinet member – now serves on five different Board committees: the Medical Center, Development, Academic Affairs, Diversity, as well as Governance, Compensation and Nominations. His term ends June 30, 2012.

The Board reserves two seats for recent alumni, each of whom begin a single four-year term within five and a half years of graduating from any University program. Five additional seats are reserved for other alumni trustees.

“This isn’t a position that only insiders should know about,” Woodard said, after making the open post on Twitter.

Trustees at the University are also responsible for setting administrator salaries, approving tuition increases and allotting financial aid.

A University media representative emphasized that the casual outreach did not reflect official recruitment strategies.

“The Board of Trustees is not recruiting on Twitter,” University spokeswoman Candace Smith said. “Trustee Woodard, as an individual, sends out a variety of Twitter messages and updates to alumni and various constituencies.”

Woodard encouraged any recent alumni who want to make the University a better place to apply before the Oct. 24 deadline.

“Nothing made me happier than representing a University that I had done a lot for, but also that had done a lot for me,” he said.

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