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Dining reps ramp up social media engagement during pandemic



GW Dining student representatives are shifting their engagement entirely to social media during remote instruction.

Dining representatives said they have doubled down on GW Dining’s social media usage with recipes, tips and resources for healthy food options around campus. The students said they hope their engagement helps students struggling to find affordable takeout options or easy recipes to cook as the pandemic continues to keep people homebound.

University spokesperson Crystal Nosal said the student representatives are “active members” of GW Dining, and officials maintain communication with them via WebEx, emails and phone calls. She said the students meet “regularly” with staff members to discuss ideas for students’ dining options during the pandemic.

“The University dining program remains committed to serving all students nutritious meals during the pandemic, including those that follow specific diets,” Nosal said in an email. “Students are encouraged to take advantage of the Dining program’s resources, including contacting GW Dining representatives, visiting the Dining website or getting in touch with Dining staff members directly.”

Peyton Wilson, the Mount Vernon Campus’ student representative, said her role before the pandemic still involved social media but also included organizing in-person activities on the Vern, like cooking classes and contests.

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While the Vern remains shut down, Wilson said she’s focused on cooking and posting healthy recipes on Instagram, which she focused on Southern meals like biscuits, cornbread and sweet potatoes. She said she hopes her Instagram posts motivate students to cook their own meals at home, adding that preparing food can serve as a form of self-care during the pandemic.

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With at least 35 GWorld vendors closed due to the pandemic’s financial impacts, including Pelham Commons on the Vern, many students are grocery shopping and cooking their own food, she said. Wilson said she hopes posting recipes and tips on her Instagram will make it easier for students to find and make healthy food options.

Of the GWorld dining options that remain, Wilson said she recommends Beefsteak and Surfside as “filling” and “affordable.” To find other affordable options, she suggests turning to Grubhub, from which students can buy food with no delivery fee.

Jess Squires, the student representative for sustainable dining, said the pandemic has forced her to brainstorm new ways to make takeout packaging more sustainable. Squires, who joined the representative program during the pandemic, said she recommends students prioritize cooking at home or use recyclable utensils and bags when eating out.

“I’ve definitely been trying to focus more on just suggesting meals and services that are available to students, not only in Foggy Bottom but all over the country and the world, so that’s obviously a bit more home-cooking than takeout,” she said. “Dining in person is not really an option right now, which is too bad because that’s so much more sustainable than takeout.”

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Squires said she has recently focused on posting sustainable meal suggestions and food services that are available to students on and off campus on Instagram. She said her page is focused on home cooking instead of takeout.

When students don’t have time to cook their own meals, she said asking restaurants to leave out utensils and napkins in an order could make takeout more sustainable. She said she is currently working to figure out which GW Dining partners have the most sustainable packaging, a new focus of hers since the pandemic started.

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Squires said she also recommends that students on campus look into the community-supported agriculture program with the GroW Garden. She said purchasing food from local farmers who are part of the program is a sustainable way to buy groceries during the pandemic.

The Dupont Circle FRESHFARM Market is also still open for students to purchase local, in-season produce, Squires said. She said students can still compost their food waste there, in addition to the GW compost bin set up in Kogan Plaza every Friday.

Jess Flagg, the vegan and vegetarian student representative, said she hopes to update students on events that provide discounted or free food options. She said since the pandemic sent students home, she’s relied on her Instagram account to host virtual cooking classes, post recipes and recommend restaurants near campus.

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Flagg said some of her responsibilities as the vegan and vegetarian dining representative include leading cooking classes, coordinating dining events and communicating with students who want to voice issues related to vegan and vegetarian diet availability. She added that students living in Foggy Bottom can find vegan and vegetarian options at grocery stores like Whole Foods and Safeway.

Flagg said students living at home should experiment cooking new recipes and check out their local restaurants for vegan and vegetarian options.

“You can almost always find something vegetarian, and a lot of restaurants have vegan options or options that you can change a little to make vegan,” Flagg said in an interview.

This article appeared in the February 1, 2021 issue of the Hatchet.

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LinkedIn Makes its 20 Most Popular LinkedIn Learning Courses Freely Available Throughout August





Looking to up your skills for a job change or career advancement in the second half of the year?

This will help – today, LinkedIn has published its listing of the 20 most popular LinkedIn Learning courses over the first half of 2022. In addition to this, LinkedIn’s also making each of these courses free to access till the end of the month – so now may well be the best time to jump in and brush up on the latest, rising skills in your industry.

As per LinkedIn:

As the Great Reshuffle slows and the job market cools, professionals are getting more serious about skill building. The pandemic accelerated change across industries, and as a result, skills to do a job today have changed even compared to a few years ago. Professionals are responding by learning new skills to future-proof their careers and meet the moment.” 

LinkedIn says that over seven million people have undertaken these 20 courses this year, covering everything from improved communication, project management, coding, strategic thinking and more.

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Here are the top 20 LinkedIn Learning courses right now, which you can access via the relevant links:

  1. Goal Setting: Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) with Jessie Withers
  2. Excel Essential Training (Office 365/Microsoft 365) with Dennis Taylor
  3. Interpersonal Communication with Dorie Clark
  4. Cultivating a Growth Mindset with Gemma Leigh Roberts
  5. Project Management Foundations with Bonnie Biafore
  6. Using Questions to Foster Critical Thinking and Curiosity with Joshua Miller
  7. Essentials of Team Collaboration with Dana Brownlee
  8. Unconscious Bias with Stacey Gordon
  9. Learning Python with Joe Marini
  10. Communicating with Confidence with Jeff Ansell
  11.  Speaking Confidently and Effectively with Pete Mockaitis
  12. Learning the OWASP Top 10 with Caroline Wong
  13. Power BI Essential Training with Gini von Courter
  14. Strategic Thinking with Dorie Clark
  15. SQL Essential Training with Bill Weinman
  16. Developing Your Emotional Intelligence with Gemma Leigh Roberts
  17. Communication Foundations with Brenda Bailey-Hughes and Tatiana Kolovou
  18. Agile Foundations with Doug Rose
  19. Digital Marketing Foundations with Brad Batesole
  20. Critical Thinking with Mike Figliuolo
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If you’ve been thinking about upskilling, now may be the time – or maybe it’s just worth taking some of the programming courses, for example, so that you have a better understanding of how to communicate between departments on projects.

Or you could take an Agile course. If, you know, you don’t trust your own management ability.

The courses are available for free till August 31st via the above links.

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Instagram Is Rolling Out Reels Replies, And Will Be Testing A New Feature Which Informs …





Instagram has added a few more social features to the platform, with Reels Replies being rolled out. Along with the Replies, anew feature is being tested that shows when two users are active together in the same chat.

Reels has been performing much better than perhaps even Instagram ever anticipated. The TikTok-inspired new video format (which officially claims to have absolutely no relation to the former) had some trouble really finding its footing initially. However, Reels has grown massively and while it may not be a source of the most direct competition to TikTok, it is indeed a worthy alternative.

Reels has grown to the point that it has a massive creator program attached to it, and the video format has even been migrated to Facebook with the goal of generating further user interest there. Naturally, with such a successful virtual goldmine on its hands, Instagram has been hard at work developing new features and interface updates for Reels, integrating it more and more seamlessly into the rest of the social media platform. Features such as Reels Replies are a major part of such attempts at integration.

Reels Visual Replies are essentially just what they sound like: A Reel that is being used to reply to someone. It’s a feature that’s been seen frequently across TikTok as well. Reel Replies essentially take a user’s comments, and reply to them in video format. The comment will then show up within the Reel itself as a text-box, taking up some amount of space, and showing both the user who issued said comment along with the text. The text-box is apparently adjustable, with users having the ability to move it around and change its size depending on where it obstructs one’s Reel the least.

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Overall, it’s a fun addition to the Reels format, even if the credit should be going to TikTok first. At any rate, it’s an example of Instagram really utilizing Reels’ social media capabilities, outside of just serving it up as a form of entertainment.

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Speaking of social media capabilities, a new feature might help alleviate one of the most common frustrations encountered across all such platforms. Isn’t it annoying when you see that a friend’s online, but isn’t replying to your chat? Sure, they’ve probably just put their phone down to run a quick errand, but there’s no way for you to know, right? Well, there sort of is now! Instagram is beta testing a new feature via which if both users are active within a chat, the platform will display that accordingly. It’s a work-around, sure, and one that’s currently being tested for usefulness, but it’s still a very nice, and even fresh, addition to the social media game.

Now, the active status will only appear when you are both active at the same time.#Instagram #instgramnewfeature@MattNavarra @instagram @alex193a

— Yash Joshi  (@MeYashjoshi) December 10, 2021

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5 apps for scheduling Instagram posts on iPhone and Android





Alright, we get it. You’re an Instagram Nostradamus.

You know exactly what you want to post and when you’re gonna want to post it. Maybe there’s a meme or comment you want to make that you know will be totally relevant for a future moment or event. Or it could be that you’re an influencer and you want to make sure you keep a steady stream of content coming, so you want to schedule posts for times when you know you won’t be active (or won’t have internet access).

You’ll be happy to know there are apps that are specialized for just such situations. So listen up, InstaNostradamuses…Instagrostra…Instadam…Insta…uh…you guys (we’ll workshop it. No we won’t. We’ll probably just abandon that effort completely. You’re welcome) — these are the Instagram-post-scheduling apps for you.

While all of the iPhone apps below are free to download, they all have some in-app purchases.

1. Planoly


We’ll start with “official partner” of Instagram, itself, Planoly — an Instaplanner that uses a grid to let you plan, schedule, and publish posts (as well as Reels) on Instagram. The app also lets you see post metrics and analytics so you can make sure your post didn’t flop.

Planoly is available for iOS on the Apple App Store and the Google Play store for Android.

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2. Buffer

BufferCredit: buffer / app store

Buffer is another Instagram post scheduler that helps you plan your posts and analyze feedback once they’re published. Use a calendar view to drag and drop posts into days/time slots for easy scheduling.

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Buffer is available for iOS on the Apple App Store and the Google Play store for Android.

3. Preview

PreviewCredit: preview / app store

Preview offers typical post-scheduling tools and analytics along with a few helpful extras. Get caption ideas, recommendations for hashtags, and more.

Preview is available for iOS on the Apple App Store and the Google Play store for Android.

4. Content Office

Content OfficeCredit: content office / app store

An Instagram post scheduler with a visual boost, Content Office allows users to plan and schedule Instagram posts while learning “marketing and visual guides to grow your brand on Instagram.” Like aesthetics and using visuals to create cohesive themes? Maybe this is the Instaplanner for you.

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Content Office is available for iOS on the Apple App Store.

5. Plann

PlannCredit: plann / apple store

You’ll never guess what “Plann” lets you do…

Aside from scheduling posts, get content ideas and recommendations, as well as strategy tips to ensure you’re maximizing your Instagram engagement. Ever wonder when the best time to post something is? Plann can offer you some help with that.

Plann is available for iOS on the Apple App Store and the Google Play store for Android.

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