Recently, Flat Ozzies have been
popping up all over the place as part of a clever all-University social media
campaign that has #ISpyOzzie being tweeted, retweeted, posted and Instagrammed
all over the place by his fans and supporters.
Even Ozzie himself has been
spotted with some of his minions on social media, though he has remained silent
on the topic — go figure.
Many departments on campus
are a part of the campaign. Alumni Services has been giving them out at Third
Thursdays, their chapter events in various cities around the country, events on
and off campus and even mailing them to alumni who live too far away to pick
“Flat Ozzies are a hit
amongst alumni across the country — whether I am planning an alumni reception
in another city or alums are getting together for a social event in Washington,
D.C. or New York City, Flat Ozzie is a special way to bring a piece of UNF to
all of those alums living outside of Jacksonville,” said Chaz Runfola,
coordinator of Alumni Events and Constituent Programs. “By taking a quick
glance at some of the regional Facebook pages, you will find Flat Ozzies in
group photos and selfies. No matter where you travel, you can now find a little
more Osprey pride.”
Student Government has taken the lead in
getting them out to students on campus. They have handed them out at events and
made them available in their offices for students to pick up. Students love
them and have figured out some pretty creative ways to take photos with Flat
Ozzie and post to social media.
Athletics has also been a
part of the promotion, handing Flat Ozzies out at games and other events. Some
of the athletes and coaches have been spotted with Flat Ozzie on social media.
Josh Baker, coordinator of
External Relations and Events/director of Osprey Nation, said they make sure
Flat Ozzies are available for fans at every home contest. At the end of every
game, there are none on the table, but plenty in the hands of fans. Just where
they should be.
The Flat Ozzie campaign was
born out of a need to connect with stakeholders on social media, the
University’s fastest growing communication platform. Because UNF’s reach has
extended far past the crown region with alumni and supporters in all 50 states
and around the world, the University needed a way to universally connect all
Ospreys and bring them home to the nest at least virtually, if not physically.
Flat Ozzies were soon born.
The concept is simple. Once
an alum, student, donor, friend, faculty, staff or community member has a Flat
Ozzie in hand, the idea is to take a photo either creatively or in a way that
shows off the holder’s unique location. So far, we have seen Flat Ozzie in
Alaska, Watkins Glen, the Biltmore Hotel, on a hockey rink and the Main Street
Bridge. He has been seen wet, dry or having coffee with President John A.
Delaney and Student Body President Joe Turner. And some lucky fans have even
had him autographed by the myth, the legend, the bird himself — Ozzie — and
lived to Instagram about it.
“After receiving a big box
of Flat Ozzies, I couldn’t wait to show them off,” said Jessica (Odell) Ray, a
2009 communication graduate. “As soon as we passed them out at our September
Washington, D.C. alumni event, fellow Ospreys began to brainstorm where we
could photograph Ozzie. With people working everywhere from the State
Department to Capitol Hill, Osprey pride was about to sweep our nation’s
capitol! A few weeks after we presented them at our happy hour, several of us
were at a Florida State Society event, and as we went to take a picture, we
remembered Flat Ozzie was with us! It made us that much more connected with
campus and each other. What a creative tool for social media — all of the
Gators, Knights and ’Noles were jealous of our mascot and his amazing travels!”
you can have one, too. If you haven’t picked one up at an event or on campus,
turn to the inside back cover of the Journal and you will find your very own
Flat Ozzie, though there is some assembly required. Follow the simple
instructions and then show YOUR Osprey spirit by photographing yourself with
him and posting it on social media with the hashtag #ISpyOzzie. The Journal
will publish some of the best photos in upcoming issues. Get snapping. Or
clicking. Or whatever cellphone cameras do.