2017 alumna Gianna Marchese is the college’s new social media mar­keting coor­di­nator / Courtesy Gianna Marchese

A scroll through Hillsdale College’s Facebook feed opens a window into the school’s culture, pulling up photos of this year’s welcome party and con­vo­cation, articles about Hillsdale alumni, and the latest pub­li­cation from College Pres­ident Larry Arnn.

Hillsdale’s appeal is the same as always, but a new force is driving the college’s social media front: 2017 alumna Gianna Marchese.

After grad­u­ating from Hillsdale last spring with a degree in mar­keting, Marchese decided to return the favor to her alma mater and fill the shoes of 2014 alumna Hannah Strickland Rozsa — who married and moved to Chicago this summer — as the college’s social media mar­keting coor­di­nator.

In this position, Marchese runs five main social media accounts: Hillsdale’s main page, Online Courses, Imprimis, Alumni Asso­ci­ation, and The Kirby Center. For all these, she manages some com­bi­nation of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Google Plus — an “over­whelming amount of pass­words,” she said.

Marchese expressed a vision for what social media can accom­plish for Hillsdale: “My main goal for the whole department is to educate people about what Hillsdale is and what we’re doing,” she said, noting that Hillsdale’s online courses in par­ticular reach out to people of all ages.

The task is a chal­lenge, Marchese said, because it’s dif­ferent than man­aging per­sonal social media.

“I think the main dif­ference is that you can’t use your own voice, you have to use the college’s voice,” Marchese said. “You’re speaking on behalf of the college, and you’re the public face of the college.”

Director of Digital Mar­keting Jon Lewis, Marchese’s super­visor, said Marchese’s famil­iarity with the college made her a good can­didate for the job.

“Being a graduate of the college, she under­stands the mission really well, she loves it, she loves being here,” Lewis said. “She also appre­ciates taking what’s special about this place and reaching the masses with it, which is unique and really fun.”

Hillsdale can use the ubiquity of social media to its advantage, Marchese empha­sized.

“We’re every­where on social media, and with that kind of presence, how many people can we pos­sibly affect?” Marchese said. “I know my life was changed because I knew about Hillsdale and because I came here and I learned the things I learned at Hillsdale. How many others can we change in the same way?”

With her goals in mind, Marchese starts her day off with a cup of coffee from Rough Draft and scrolls through com­ments on her posts. Dealing with blowback can be a tough task, she said.

“We get a lot of haters, and it’s hard to deal with someone bashing on the things you love, even though they might not be correct,” Marchese said. She approaches con­flict in a “Hillsdale way,” she said: “Kill rudeness with kindness.”

Marchese spends the rest of her day helping any campus body that might need social media assis­tance, whether adjusting the library’s Twitter account or directing someone’s online question to the right people.

Lewis said he knew that Marchese’s strengths would be well suited to the job.

“One of her per­son­ality-test strengths is ‘Max­i­mizer,’ which means she takes some­thing that is already there, and she’s always thinking about how she can improve it, make it better,” Lewis said.

Marchese has filled her position well and enhanced the work envi­ronment, said senior Joshua Lieb­hauser, the head of Marchese’s student intern team.

“It’s nice that she’s a very recent student, so it’s informal, and yet it’s still a very pro­fes­sional envi­ronment and we still get a lot done,” Lieb­hauser said. “That skill comes through in her meetings with staffers and faculty members and stu­dents — being able to handle all that and being adept at social inter­ac­tions. She’s pretty good at that.”

Marchese said she will con­tinue to rise to the chal­lenge with zest.

“It’s just a blast everyday,” Marchese said. “There are new chal­lenges every day, which is good for a Hillsdale student, because strength rejoices in the chal­lenge.”