STILLWATER — Burns Hargis is the president of Oklahoma State University, but starting this week, anyone with a smartphone can be the mayor.
OSU launched its branded page this week on Foursquare, a location-based social media application. University officials say the application gives them another way to engage with students, faculty, staff and anyone else on campus.
Having a presence on the application allows OSU to create lists of campus so-called venues — or locations — where Foursquare users can check in. One of those lists, a series of Hargis' favorite places on campus, includes Edmon Low Library, OSU's Student Union and Old Central, said Megan Horton, OSU's manager of Web and social initiatives.
The page also includes special promotions for venue mayors — users who check in at those locations most frequently. For example, she said, the mayor of Edmon Low Library would have access to a special study area and a reserved laptop, while the mayor of the Student Union would receive a discount on OSU-branded merchandise.
The university also will use the application to promote campus events. For example, Horton said, the university created a Foursquare event for Tuesday night's speech by NBA
“It will give users a way to check in at places and see who else has been there,” she said.
OSU isn't the first university to launch a branded page. The University of Oklahoma launched a similar site last year. Erin Yarbrough, OU's director of Web communications, said the app has proved a useful tool for connecting with students, fans and alumni.
In the past, most of OU's social media presence targeted alumni and prospective students, Yarbrough said. Foursquare gave the university a way to engage people who were already on campus — current students, alumni who come back to campus on game days and parents who are in town for a visit, she said.