UTA alumnus Jithin Daniel didn’t know anyone his freshman year, and professor rating websites weren’t helping him learn about the professors from UTA. It was this lack of connection that gave him the drive to help connect students by creating a UTA fan page on Facebook before there was an official UTA page run by the university. The page, known as the Unofficial UTA fan page, has 12,925 followers.
“I saw UTA had no fan page, so I thought why not create one to help students connect with one another?” Daniel said.
He’s also an administrator to a Facebook page known as Campus Tips. Both sites are dedicated to help students know what is going on around the UTA campus and the surrounding area.
Since his graduation in May of last year, Daniel has worked as an engineer full time, so he hasn’t had much time to operate the pages. In his free time, he has been seeking a fan of UTA to take his place as the administrator of these pages for a year.
He started posting MavAlerts, notices sent out by the campus alert system when there is an issue, as an extra way to give students a heads up about school closings or weather warnings.
“A lot of people think the page is a real UTA page and that I can change things around campus. People tend to go a little crazy,” Daniel said.
People would rant about parking and thought posting could help fix their problems, Daniel said. Daniel wanted the page to be used as a public forum to let students vent about their day and establish connections.
Sunday, Daniel asked if everyone was ready for the new semester to start. He received 48 comments, most of which were “no,” while others asked about finding a roommate.
“The fan page has helped me get my advertising out there on campus, such as finding a new roommate and all,” political science senior Fariya Ahmed said. “So far I think it’s a great way to stay connected to campus.”
The page’s following did not really take off until after the first year, Daniel said. After that, the page seemed to grow on its own. Fans liked it so much that UTA spokeswoman Kristin Sullivan called Daniel during the summer of 2010 to discuss how he managed to have his group to grow so much. That’s when UTA decided to start their own official page.
“I didn’t try to push the page very much,” Daniel said. “A lot of people ask me how I feel about having a larger group. It’s pretty cool.”
Because Daniel started the page when Facebook was becoming popular, the university ended up with two pages with more than 10,000 followers each. However, the unofficial page maintains 1,300 fans more than the official UTA Facebook page. While the unofficial UTA page is run by fan content, the university’s official page is run by the university for students to stay connected with the university.
As for who will run Daniel’s two pages next, it’s uncertain.
“I am looking for someone who is a big fan of UTA,” Daniel said. “Someone who will post important information without spamming.”
For those interested, Daniel said, they have to be positive and entertaining.
“You have to like what you are doing, otherwise you won’t be interested in it,” Daniel said. “You can make a huge impact with having this much people getting to see what you put out, so you have to have that in your mind. You might be helping someone out there without even knowing. That’s the rewarding part.”
Courtesy of the Shorthorn.com