TikTok captures Hilltop experience in a ‘fresh, creative’ fashion


Courtesy / @saint_anselm

The beautiful fall foliage is just one aspect of the Hilltop that Jason Kolnos, director of social media, hopes to capture on the College’s TikTok.

Flannery Moore, Culture Editor

In an attempt to harness the power of one of the most popular social media platforms worldwide, Saint Anselm College recently added TikTok to its list of marketing strategies. The social media platform has been popular for several years, but director of social media for the College, Jason Kolnos, created @saint_anselm, the College’s TikTok account, in Oct. 2022. Kolnos stated that the College’s TikTok account represents the “unique but exciting challenge of capturing the Saint Anselm experience in ways that students are already doing.”  

The College had been interested in launching a TikTok account for a while, but had focused first on growing their Instagram page and audience. Kolnos points out that the many challenges of the pandemic didn’t allow for the most aesthetically-pleasing TikToks. While COVID remains an important health issue, its impact on Saint Anselm’s campus has subsided and Kolnos jumped at the opportunity to get on the TikTok train. Although TikTok has been a popular platform for personal accounts for a few years, it hasn’t been until recently where you’ve seen an uptick in participation from businesses and organizations, including colleges. In fact, many popular colleges have yet to launch TikTok accounts. 

He also referenced the many traditions at Saint Anselm such as the annual gingerbread contest and Christmas feast as a hope for the College to take the challenge of capturing such foundational Anselmian traditions in a fresh, creative way.

Kolnos stated that the Office of Communications and Marketing hopes to showcase the student experience on the Hilltop in “as many interesting ways as possible.” Due to its network of 1 billion users and the huge potential scope of trending videos, TikTok seemed to be an ideal platform to capture the Hilltop experience. Kolnos noted that TikTok has a “unique velocity with a lot of lively video action quicker than some of the other social media platforms.” 

A drone video recently posted on the College’s TikTok shows campus’s beautiful fall foliage. Kolnos described his vision for the account as a “hodgepodge” that not only showcases the Hilltop itself, but features quick spotlights of departments or programs, like recently posted videos featuring the arts and politics. The College is also excited to put a Saint A’s flavor on videos that are trending. The goal is a “well-balanced and well-rounded account.” 

The Saint Anselm Admissions Office and Campus Ministry have both been on TikTok for a few years now. Campus Ministry offered a tour of the Abbey Church on their account. Admissions intern Jackie Welch ‘23 made a video for @anselmadmission participating in the “If I was a…”  TikTok trend. (Saint Anselm College would be navy blue, a hawk, autumn, sunset, chocolate chip cookies, and home, for those wondering.) The College was excited to feature Welch’s video on their account and Kolnos emphasized his hope to continue fostering collaboration with students. 

Kolnos described such trends as a “great way to show people what your spaces are all about” and said that the Saint Anselm College account was definitely inspired by the creativity of those such as Admissions and @takethellc, another entirely student-run account. 

In the words of Kolnos, @takethellc has been “going wild on TikTok.” The account was started by a group of friends, some of whom were resident assistants in the Learning Living Commons. The group keeps up with current trends–with a recent trend video reaching 275k views–as well as regularly posting funny videos such as a full choreographed dance routine in the lobby of the LLC. Kolnos described the dance number as “top notch…[it] brings a smile to your face every time you watch it.” 

Kolnos stated that the “Hilltop is all about student experiences, so we want our TikTok to reflect that.” The @saint_anselm account is seeking student involvement, and students who make TikToks, enjoy appearing in TikToks, or are skilled video editors are encouraged to reach out to Kolnos. Students can either email Kolnos directly at [email protected] or direct message any of the College’s social media accounts. Also, Kolnos said that the College Communications and Marketing office will be seeking an intern for the spring semester and needs skilled content creators able to tell the College’s story through various social media platforms. Students are encouraged to reach out about that as well.