The more than 1.3 billion Chinese living in China, where social networks such as Twitter and Facebook are blocked, still have access to a social network that can quickly and easily answer their questions about the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford.
Pitt-Bradford has launched its own page on Weibo, a Chinese language microblogging site that is allowed in China.
The page is administered by Dr. Y. Ken Wang, assistant professor of computer information systems and technology and a Chinese native.
Wang translates information from the Pitt-Bradford website to post on the page, which currently has 80 followers, and answers questions from prospective students.
Wang began the page late in 2011 and said that it has steadily added followers without promotion.
Most, he said, have questions about the university. Many are students who have been admitted through the University of Pittsburgh’s Options program, which gives students the option of enrolling at a regional campus. They have questions about a Pitt-Bradford degree (the same as a Pitt degree) and what programs are available on the Bradford campus. The most popular areas they’re interested in, Wang said, are engineering and business, both of which are offered by Pitt-Bradford. Other concerns are scholarships and transportation.
Wang works closely on the site with the Pitt-Bradford Admissions Office, which has actively been working to increase diversity on campus.
Director of Admissions Alex Nazemetz said that Pitt-Bradford has more than doubled the population of foreign and domestic Asian students in the last few years.
“Five or six years ago, they represented less than 1 percent of our overall population,” he said. “This past fall, 2.4 percent of our population was of Asian heritage, which is a significant increase for a campus this size.”
Wang said, “I think Weibo can be a window for us to a growing market.”
Nazemetz added, “Dr. Wang has created this microblog to help bring our message to China, where it might not be easily or readily available to the population, especially since some social networking sites are not available.
“Weibo will help get our information out to students and provide answers to questions they may have after they have been admitted or even if they are thinking about applying.”
To check out the page, visit www.weibo.com/pittbradford.