Swipe right: Thunderbird Athletes Council are sharing UBC's eligible athletes with campus through 'Tinderbird'

If you haven’t figured out who to take to your holiday party, you probably want to look into the UBC Thunderbird Athletes Council (TAC) Instagram account.

The council started a “Tinderbird” section on their account in September, featuring one student-athlete every Monday.

“It’s ... for athletes to connect with other athletes and to find another social media platform where people can engage in other teams,” said council president and rower Kristina Walker of the Instagram series “Then they’d be more inclined to go out to other teams’ games because they know people on those teams.”

The Tinderbird posts contain a brief biography and several social media links of the featured T-Bird, just like normal Tinder minus the ability to actually swipe right.

The featured athletes usually associate with the hype game of the week previously decided by the TAC. For example, Tinderbird Sara Goodman from the women’s field hockey team, who just went through a do-or-die series last weekend for their ticket to the national, and women’s soccer goalkeeper Emily Moore have been featured in conjunction with their hype games over the last month.

“The TAC does a hype week for almost every week, but for each team we promote a game with that team and try to get a bunch of people out. Then if there’s a hype game in that certain week, we let that team choose whom they wanna promote,” said Nikki Mallow, the TAC's social media coordinator. “On off weekends, … certain teams will nominate [the athlete for Tinderbird] and then it will be randomly selected.”

As a student-run organization on campus, the TAC works to connect student-athletes on campus, to promote the varsity teams and games, and to provide a platform for athlete voices. Because of that, the TAC has a different way of promoting than the athletic department — they want to shed light on individuals, on top of highlighting whole teams.

“We know the athletes a little better, so we can do things like Tinderbird or re-post some of the athletes’ stories,” said Mallow.“We also want our posts to be a little more personal.”

So far, the TAC is pretty satisfied with how Tinderbird is being received by their primary audience: fellow athletes. “They [have] enjoyed it. I have some people come up to me and be like, ‘This is a great addition.’” said Mallow.

Going forward, Tinderbird may be a good way to get more of campus involved in sport. Though the initiative is currently mostly targeted at athletes, their account is public on Instagram — thus, an opportunity for campus to get involved if they so choose.

“We have a campus of 60 thousand students,” Walker said. “ We should be targeting as many people as possible to come out to games, getting in that sports culture and experiencing the fun that we have while we play the sport.”