Amy Rivera is currently the social media coordinator and co-creative director of Vibes, the only all-female hip-hop dance group at Boston University. She is a public relations major and will graduate with the class of 2019 in May. The COMmunicator sat down with Amy to see how she applies what she learns in COM to her life outside the classroom.
Emily Chen: You are currently the social media coordinator and co-creative director of Vibes. What lead you to join Vibes in the first place?
Amy Rivera: I joined Vibes my freshman year in the spring. I had spent my first semester of college in London, which was a fantastic experience. Then, I came back to Boston for the spring semester and I joined Vibes.
EC: Were you in any similar groups before you joined Vibes?
AR: I was in my high school dance team and I performed dance sporadically throughout middle school and high school. It was mostly ballroom, so when I got to BU, I wanted to try something different. At Splash, I saw that Vibes was an all-female hip- hop dance team, and I was immediately interested.
EC: Now that you have been in Vibes for about three years, have there been any particularly memorable moments for you?
AR: Our Impact show. It has always been my favorite event. When I joined, it was the first show of the season, and it was nice to see everyone debut their mixes. The photoshoots we would do before the show were always fun to participate in. At the most recent Impact show, we had many big headliners, like Brotherhood, join us, which was super exciting and it was awesome to see Vibes grow more popular as a team.
EC: When did you start to manage Vibe’s Instagram?
AR: I started my junior year, and began doing it with another person at first, and then I took over after she left the group. I was a part of Vibes’ Executive board, I was vice president last semester, and started as co-creative director my junior year. I was also secretary and social media coordinator.
EC: So you took on a lot.
AR: [laughs] Yes, I did a bit of everything, and this year I realized I had taken on too much, so I am now just focusing on social media coordinator and co-creative director.
EC: Do you have a format for running Vibe’s Instagram? Are there specific posts you like to make?
AR: At the beginning of the semester, I focus on a spotlight on the newbies to introduce people to the new members of our team. Then, I usually post stories throughout the day of our dance practices and show our followers what we do daily.
EC: Do you think the things you’ve learned in PR classes have helped you run Vibes’ social media better?
AR: I think social media is one of those things that our generation is good at and a lot of times, education can’t catch up. A lot of the classes don’t show us how to use social media but, rather, the impact of social media itself. I took a lot of media relations classes, and they taught how to talk to journalists, and I think that has helped me a lot. Last semester, a journalist reached out to me about my opinion on the Harvard single-sex rule. I told her about how Vibes is special because hip-hop often marginalizes women. It’s not about excluding other genders– it’s about creating a community for a woman to express themselves and feel safe. So, PR classes have really helped me manage media relations better and how to talk to different journalists.
EC: I know you are also in PRLab. Is there anything you learned from that experience that has been helpful?
AR: PRLab feels like working at an agency and students learn a lot about working with clients. I wrote a blog post about creating a good work-life balance. PRLab taught me a lot of leadership skills and media relations skills. It is a lot of unexpected skills but they will be very valuable in the long run.
EC: What are your plans for the future? Is there anything in particular you want to strive toward?
AR: I don’t have a particular job lined up yet, but I am trying to find a company. It doesn’t matter if it’s a corporate group, non-profit organization, or agency. What matters is if they are passionate about women’s rights, Latin relations with clients abroad, or non-profit services. What I really want to do in the future, after I have established myself, is go to Ecuador to do non-profit work there.
EC: Do you think you’ll continue dancing?
AR: I will definitely continue to dance. I believe that if you are passionate about something, you never give it up. Even if I do get busy with work, I will always try to dance and take classes.
EC: Before we wrap up, do you have any final tips for students beginning their PR journey?
AR: The best tip is to be a part of an E-board for a club. You learn a lot. You can learn leadership skills and how to communicate with team members. And for me, I learned how to communicate with journalists. Students on E-Boards can also start doing some PR work here and there and learn some skills to use later on.
Emily Chen, Staff Writer
Emily Chen is a junior at Boston University majoring in public relations with a minor in psychology. She is born and raised in California, but hopes to eventually move to the Big Apple to pursue her career in fashion PR. During her free time, she enjoys traveling to different countries, trying new food, and cooking with friends.