High school seniors won’t get to celebrate their proms this spring in traditional fashion, but some committing to attend Troy University in the fall are getting an opportunity to share the milestone in their own Generation Z fashion — on the highly popular teenage social media platform TikTok.
Troy officials were brainstorming how to bring incoming students together since many social events for the spring have been canceled as a result of social distancing to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
“We’re in a really tough situation, so we’re try to keep our students engaged,” said Autumn Baggett-Griggs, web content manager for Troy’s Student Services and Administration. “Since high schoolers are at home, they may be missing out on some of the milestones that they look forward to as a senior, (so) we thought, ‘Why don’t we throw a prom for them?’”
Since most high school seniors are familiar with the trendy, short-video-based social media platform, Baggett-Griggs said it seemed natural to use TikTok to host the event.
T-Roy, the university’s official mascot, recorded a cellphone video of himself performing a unique dance with trendy moves to the song “It’s Tricky” by Run-D.M.C. and challenged students to copy the routine with their own twists and upload it to their page with #troyprom.
“It’s just a good way for seniors to get off the couch and have something to do. Quarantining and self-isolation can get really lonely, so anything to get people connecting to one another is a good thing,” Baggett-Griggs said, adding that some students have said they spent up to two hours memorizing and rehearsing the dance.
The female and male students with the most video likes will be crowned prom queen and king, respectively. The titles come not only with a crown and tiara, but each would also earn a one-time, $500 scholarship from Troy.
Since the university had to cancel its in-person Spring Preview Day, officials wanted to continue its “culture of caring,” one of its core values, by offering something to bring students together.
“This big picture is we want to get people to participate and get involved,” she said. “At the end of the day, the good thing about this is the seniors get to come together to celebrate something that they’re missing out on right now.”
The competition officially opened Wednesday. By around midday Thursday, around 40 videos had been submitted, and there were 93,000 views for #troyprom.
In many videos, students are wearing prom attire, while some are sporting Troy spirit gear, doing unique things in their videos to get viewer attention like doing back flips or having their siblings in the background dancing.
The deadline for entries is tomorrow at 5 p.m., and winners will be announced on T-Roy’s TikTok Live at 6 p.m.