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UH Students Check In to Win the AP Top 25 Gowalla Check-in ChallengeSocial Media Initiative Results in Most Campus Check-ins, Donation to Scholarship Fund

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January 12, 2011-Houston-
When it comes to being in the right place at the right time, University of Houston students topped a number of nationally competitive schools to win the Top 25 Gowalla Check-in Challenge. The victory resulted in a $10,000 donation to the university's Cougar Community TierOne Endowment fund, courtesy of Gowalla. Resources from the fund provide four-year scholarships for highly-meritorious students, along with stipends for undergraduate research and study abroad.

"The University of Houston community really stepped up and showed the school spirit needed to win the Challenge," said Karen Clarke, associate vice chancellor/associate vice president for University Relations. "Kudos to social media coordinator Jessica Brand, our excellent marketing team, the Pride Patrol, the Pride Ambassadors and the students for staying connected and active for a cause that will benefit students in need."

Gowalla, the location-based social networking service headquartered in Austin, sponsored the contest to encourage school spirit during the college football season. Participating universities earned points as students checked-in around campus via Gowalla. Each check-in netted the university one point, with five unique campus checkpoints qualifying for extra points. The five extra points locations on the UH campus included Robertson Stadium, University Center, Cougar Baseball Field and the "What is the Nature of This?" statue. 

UH entered the competition ranked 29th, but continued to move ahead until securing first place with more than 6,000 points. The University of Texas at Austin was the only other school to exceed 5,000 points and placed second in the final tally. Baylor University, the University of South Carolina and Texas A&M University rounded out the top five. 

"Our social media presence grew tremendously in 2010, and we're excited to build on that success in 2011," said Jessica Brand, social media coordinator. "Winning the Gowalla Check-in Challenge is not only a great way to kick off the year, but helps strengthen the bond between students and the campus community."

In October, the university began promoting the contest by way of the official UH social media channels (Facebook, Twitter and YouTube). Word spread throughout the fall semester, sustained by a series of promotional events, web features at www.uh.edu and www.youarethepride.com, and a demo video. Football games at Robertson Stadium were vital to the campaign, given the concentration of students and alumni packing the stands on game day.

Participants were also eligible to win a number of individual prizes, including a MacBook Air, an iPad, an iPod Nano or an iTunes gift card. Two of five Macbook Air laptop computer prizes were awarded to UH Gowalla users.

Cougars can stay connected to all campus news and events by following UH on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube: Twitter.com/UHouston, Facebook.com/TheUniversityOfHouston and YouTube.com/UHMultimedia. Other 2010 social media highlights include the #UH2010 Twitter hashtag and the "Catch the Bug" trivia contest, which preceded the 2010 Rockwell Lecture.  

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Categories: People, Student Success