USC Reach brings creatives community to other universities
In the age of social media, there are so many ways to get involved in the digital world. From content creation and social management to influencers and digital marketers, the possibilities are endless. All of this culminates at USC Reach, a community of individuals versed in these fields with a deep passion for all things social media.
Reach is USC’s first and only social media club, with members ranging from photographers to digital marketers, videographers, content creators — the list goes on.
Brianna Seaberg, a lifestyle and travel creator who has held various executive board positions at Reach over the past three years, has been able to grow and evolve her own social media accounts because of the skills she has learned as a member of the club. The organization has helped her realize how important it is to be well-rounded and to start creating content on different social media platforms.
“Anyone [who] is in that creative space and puts their work or personal brand on social media [is welcome to Reach] … We’re a really small, tight-knit, exclusive group, but it works because everybody is so passionate and involved in what they do on social media that it brings us together even more,” said Seaberg, a senior majoring in communication.
To join the club, prospective members must fill out a short online application and then partake in an interview with executive board members. They are then informed via email whether or not they have been accepted. The overall application process is very straightforward and is open to anyone with a passion for social media, although prior experience in this field is recommended. According to Seaberg, many current members ended up going through this process multiple times, and prospective members should not be discouraged if they are not admitted the first time.
Each semester, the group hosts various workshops for its members related to topics ranging from professional development to social media skills. These workshops are constantly changing based on the wants and needs of current members.
The group also invites a wide range of guest speakers to speak about their experiences within the media industry. Past speakers have included creative executives from Paramount, Google and TikTok, influencers with millions of followers and Reach alumni.
“These panels were really impactful for me because I’m more on the content side,” said Reach Director of Outreach Dylan Huey, a sophomore majoring in business administration. “I haven’t really focused too much on the industry side, but it’s super interesting to see the other side of social media — the more corporate side of things.”
Due to the pandemic, Reach was unable to coordinate its typical off-site content creation events and semester retreats for members to collaborate together. This year, they are looking forward to meeting each other in person and resuming their usual activities which can involve shooting content in professional studios or traveling to locations such as Melrose to take pictures.
Katherine Vlamis, who joined Reach as a freshman in 2019 and is now co-president, said these meetups provide special opportunities for members to connect and collaborate on new content.
“It really does feel like you’re just hanging out with your friends and you’re still getting content and everything, so we all leave with something. But it doesn’t feel like clout chasing or anything,” Vlamis said. “It’s really just people hanging out that love making content together.”
Though all these workshops, meetings and events are a major part of this organization, what makes Reach so worthwhile is the close-knit family and sense of community that is created among its members, Huey said. Other members also said with social media being a tumultuous platform to navigate alone, having a supportive group of other content creators and digital marketers behind you can make things a little easier.
“I studied abroad last fall and one thing that I found super interesting was that even at 3 a.m. in the morning, I was so motivated to come to Reach meetings because I love the club so much,” said Head of Social Media Kate Mathew, a sophomore majoring in arts, technology and the business of innovation. “We love to see each other, and we’re always happy to hang out and get coffee. Like, we’re more than a club. I feel like it’s more like a family.”
Huey, who had previously lost his passion for social media because of the stress and pressure that comes with maintaining a large social presence, has finally been able to reignite that love through the community at Reach.
“I think that Reach really helped me evolve [in] social media [and where] I want to be [and it also showed] me that I can still be friends with content creators,” Huey said. “Before, I kind of cut off all of my friends who are content creators because I was totally focusing on my education. [After joining Reach], I started to talk to the content creators I knew before and got to meet, reconcile and become friends with them again.”
As the USC Reach community has grown over the years — both in size and reputation — the organization is now looking to expand its reach (for lack of a better word) to other colleges across the country. A couple of members said that there aren’t any social media content creation clubs currently in existence on other college campuses, and many students are interested in starting a chapter of the club at their universities. Seaberg is heading up this initiative and has already helped coordinate the development of Reach chapters at UCLA and Southern Methodist University.
“[About a year ago,] we saw that there was a high interest [from] other universities, especially in Southern California, in what Reach is all about, [so] we thought it would be great to expand,” Seaberg said. “Since we were remote, it was a bit hard to expand but now that we are back in person, I’m going to be reaching out to other universities that would be interested — maybe starting more in California and then expanding outward.”
With so many different opportunities in social media and the digital market, it’s no surprise that there is a growing interest in this distinctive community, Seaberg said. As Reach continues to make its way onto other campuses, its members hope that the collaborative, supportive and creative aspects of the club won’t lose their ardor. After all, that’s what makes Reach such an impactful organization.
“We don’t want to limit ourselves to just one type of university or one type of audience. Because you know, everyone’s on social media now, especially after the pandemic — maybe there’s even more of a need for it,” Vlamis said. “We really want people [who] are passionate about different aspects of social media and want to do it to kind of create their own community and help people through the content that they share, not just like the fame.”