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Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University has won an international award for best use of social media thanks to the flash mob by its choir flighted on YouTube that became an overnight viral global sensation.
NMMU took a silver award behind American higher education giants John Hopkins University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) Circle of Excellence awards honouring outstanding work in communications, alumni relations, marketing and advancement services.
The latest accolade against 570 other institutions around the globe follows a string of others already won by the university and its design agency, Boomtown.
“We are thrilled with the news of this award as it positions us as a global player – a university that can hold its own internationally,” says NMMU’s Director of Marketing and Corporate Relations Pieter Swart.
The flash mob – an impromptu performance in a public place – which was staged almost a year ago by NMMU’s international award-winning choir at Greenacres Shopping Centre was part of a campaign to highlight the closing date for applications to study at NMMU and to raise awareness of the institutions.
It became an overnight sensation on YouTube, making it the most popular South African video on the social network site soon after it was released in July 2011.
To date some 133 000 people have watched it, and the choir has been inundated with requests to share their talent elsewhere. In July, they will represent Africa in a choral symposium in China.
In a congratulatory letter to the university, CASE organisers highlighted the high standards of the entries, of which 69 were received in the best uses of social media category.
“You, your staff and your institution should be very proud of what you have achieved,” wrote Brian Flahaven, CASE Director: Legislative, Foundation and Recognition Programme.
The award will be handed over at a CASE conference in Birmingham, United Kingdom, in August.