November 09, 2016

In the world of social media, a moment can be preserved forever – for good or bad.

However, on the popular Snapchat app, a photo or video can disappear within seconds, by design. Snapchat’s unique platform has driven young people to it and now the app has more than 150 million daily active users – surpassing another social media giant, Twitter.

For the uninitiated, users on Snapchat can post a photo or video to their “Snap story” to show their followers their day in small segments. Often called “snaps,” users can apply geofilters that identify your location, emojis and stickers to personalize their photos and videos.

UVA joined the Snapchat bandwagon last year and recently invited students to take the keys of the account and showcase their classes, their extracurricular activities and their unique look at life at UVA.

Fourth-year biomedical engineering student and Engineering Student Council President Naveed Tavakol was among the contributors. He took UVA’s Snapchat followers through a day in the life of a Lawn resident.

“The best part of the takeover was definitely being able to showcase my life in the biomedical engineering department and in our School of Engineering,” he said. “It was a lot of fun showing both current and prospective students my classes, activities outside of the classroom and friends ... and my friends really enjoyed being a part of the day, too!”

While many of UVA’s Snapchat followers are current students, the takeovers have revealed that prospective students want to see a more personal look at the University.

During the takeovers, UVA’s Snapchat account has received messages from high school seniors as close as a few miles away and from as far away as China.

Fourth-year biology student Sandy Hoang discovered the large following of prospective students during her takeover day.

“I was surprised to find out that half of UVA’s Snapchat viewers were prospective students,” she said. “The best part of the Snapchat Takeover experience was showing prospective students a more personal side of UVA, one that was based on my honest opinion of the University.”

Students can apply online to take over the account. Follow us to see their handiwork.

While snaps are ephemeral, we have managed to preserve a few. Click on the images and take a look at some of the students who took over UVA’s Snapchat this semester:



Naveed Tavakol


Cierra Hall


Joshua Cockream


Sandy Hoang


Emily Lodge


Zoe Denenberg


Anne Duessel


George Wilson


Elexa Rallos


Akash Raje

Media Contact

Kelly Kauffman

Social Media Associate University Communications