Among other social media accounts run by organizations on campus, a certain sea cucumber joined the university’s marketing ranks earlier this semester.
James Manley, a sophomore biomedical sciences major from St. George, said the idea came to him to give Jerry, the sea cucumber living in the science building, a name and media presence impart to his background in social media marketing.
“I thought it would be hilarious if I started him an instagram account, so I did,” Manley said.
He said he chose the name Jerry as a joke one day as he passed, and from that day started calling him Jerry in his head. Manley said he decided to focus on Jerry because he was his favorite, Manley said.
“I like to imagine him the size of a school bus, with his little tentacles,” Manley said. “He’s like a miniature lovecraftian monster if you look at him up close.”
Kayla Coolbear, alumna and social media and digital marketing specialist, said Manley came to her asking for her permission to start the accounts.
“[Manley] actually came in [to the UMAC] and was telling me about his idea,” Coolbear said. “He just told me that he wanted to do something fun, and he had all these really great ideas, and he had been working really hard for a while, and just kind of wanted my blessing.”
Jerry has a Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat, but uses instagram the most, Manley said. He said one day as Erin O’Brien, biological sciences department chair and associate professor of biology, was passing him, she called him into her office and he panicked, thinking he was in trouble. Instead, O’Brien offered him a job as the person behind the biological sciences social media accounts.
Since then, the UMAC has contacted him, the marketing office, and they adore the idea and want Jerry all over campus, Manley said. He said students have nominated him for Dixie Spirit Awards and tried to enter him into Dixie Idol, the D-Queen Pageant, etc.
Manley said he is a couple weeks away from having a live-stream camera inside the tank. He said he has already picked out a high-definition camera, which will run 24 hours a day.
Manley said Jerry is looking to have his own comic series, club and more in the coming semesters. Plushies have already been designed and t-shirts are soon to follow, both being released this fall, he said. Coolbear said she cannot wait to see what Jerry does in the future, and she hopes to see merchandise for the “little critter” soon.
Manley said there are a lot more surprises coming in the future, and merchandise isn’t the only thing on his mind.
“They just added some new fish last week,” Manley said. “There’s a possibility Jerry might be getting a girlfriend, a pink sea cucumber.”
Manley said the Jerry’s friends and their names will be revealed slowly but surely. Jerry already has Tim, the hermit crab, and Samantha, the sand-sifting sea star.
“I say they tell me their names when they’re good and ready,” Manley said.
Aubrey Marchant, a freshman medical laboratory science major from Ivins, said she doesn’t remember how she found the account, but her love of marine biology drew her to follow Jerry.
“I’ve always been interested in marine biology and I love the fish tank in the science building, so when I did happen upon Jerry, I thought it was fun that it featured the different animals in the tank so adorably,” Marchant said.
She said another personality she would love to see have an account is Brooks the Bison, but she is excited to own some of the merchandise hoping to release this fall.