#SeminaryWeek Campaign Encourages Youth to Make Seminary a Priority
Contributed By Marianne Holman Prescott, Church News staff writer
- Each day a new piece of seminary-inspired content was released.
- Search for content using #SeminaryWeek on social media.
- The campaign got students excited about seminary.
“Technology is their language. We can share the good, uplift, have fun, and be where they are online.” —Cody Loveland, Seminaries and Institutes social media product manager
In an effort to “reach students where they are,” the seminary program of the Church joined efforts with the New Era and Liahona magazines and the LDS Youth Facebook pages for #SeminaryWeek—a weeklong social media campaign devoted to encouraging youth to make seminary a priority in their lives.
Beginning on September 7, the four LDS platforms introduced Seminary Week and invited all to participate through a message on Facebook. Followers read the message, “It’s #SeminaryWeek! All week we’ll be sharing tips for making the most of #ldsseminary this year! #elevate your experience!”
“We want to reach students where they are,” said Cody Loveland, Seminaries and Institutes social media product manager. “Whether they are walking home from school, riding a bus, on their way to an activity, or getting ready for bed—we want to reach students where they are. They are already on their phones, so we wanted to post inspiring messages that will strengthen their faith so they can have inspiring content in daily life.”
The second campaign of its kind—the first was last year—Seminary Week fell in line with the words of Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles just weeks before at a devotional he gave at Campus Education Week at Brigham Young University. During that talk he invited all to join in and “share goodness” through social media.
“We think that it was a perfect storm in that aspect,” said Brother Loveland. Just weeks before Elder Bednar’s talk, the seminary program encouraged their leaders in local programs to “create pages and to become social.”
“We had Elder Bednar at Education Week say ‘share goodness’ and ‘let’s be actively involved in sharing it.’ And then … after that we have Seminary Week. So it has just kind of fit nicely. We’ve trained people, we have an Apostle invite, and then we say, ‘Hey, here’s Seminary Week.’ I think for us it was a great timeline to roll out some content to people that maybe wouldn’t have seen it even five weeks ago.”
Each day brought something different to the web. Monday there was a video about a young man who made seminary a priority in his busy life; Tuesday featured a fun article about the process of getting out of bed for early morning seminary; Wednesday meant the release of a new film that shows students from around the world traveling to seminary; Thursday had an article to help with scripture mastery and a link to an app to help; and Friday brought a fun Mormon Ad encouraging youth to “get carried away” reading out of the “best books.” Saturday wrapped up the week and invited youth to make “every week a seminary week!”
“Technology is their language,” said Brother Loveland of the youth. “We can share the good, uplift, have fun, and be where they are online. People around the world can opt in.”
Seminary students and their leaders around the world turned to social media sites on the web to teach, interact, and learn from one another. In the first few hours after the new video “Elevate” was posted, it had more than 100,000 views. Just a few weeks later, even after Seminary Week had ended, the same video had more than 430,000 views.
“The value of the hashtag allows a conversation to occur around the world,” said Brother Loveland. “No matter where someone is, the hashtag allows for a bigger conversation.”
The hashtag—the pound symbol (#)—allows for a worldwide classroom as individuals search online a specific topic or idea.
The Seminary Week campaign ran September 7–13, but individuals are still able to search the terms #SeminaryWeek and #elevate (the term used with new requirements for seminary graduation being implemented this year—see Church News August 16 edition) to see the conversations they missed.
The kickoff campaign was also a way for the seminary program of the Church and the other departments to showcase some of the resources available to the youth and establish a presence on the web.
Although the official #SeminaryWeek is over for this year, Brother Loveland said they hope it is just the beginning of uplifting content and conversations.
“We are able to share some things that are new—like new graduation requirements and our exclusive video,” said Brother Loveland.
The campaign started as a way to get students excited about a new year of seminary, but the social media sites are much more than that—they are a place for students to seek out content to help strengthen, uplift, and inspire them as they face their day-to-day responsibilities and tasks. It is an opportunity to find content that brings individuals closer to their Savior.
“There is power in social media,” said Brother Loveland. “To be [available] at those crucial times with uplifting content—individuals can go there to feel something.”