Kaitlynn Lovelady, a business management student at the University of Louisiana, didn’t mean to apply to Salt Lake Community College last month.
Lovelady tweeted, “I just applied to SLCC for summer class only to realize it’s Salt Lake Community College in SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH instead of SOUTH LOUISIANA COMMUNITY COLLEGE. GOODBYE $40!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
What should have been a simple tweet expressing frustrations over a mistake in applying for classes quickly turned into an unexpected outreach and warm welcome from Utah residents, politicians and businesses.
The day after Lovelady’s tweet, SLCC responded from its own Twitter account, offering to refund the money she lost and encouraging her to keep Utah as an option.
But the college wasn’t the only one to join in on the Twitter conversation.
Over the next few days, Lovelady heard from current Salt Lake Community College students and alumni, encouraging her to attend classes at the school. Their attempts at convincing came in the form of posting pictures of the skyline and sending words of encouragement.
Wasn’t a mistake…divine intervention.
— Chris Okawa (@chris_okawa) March 1, 2019
SLCC changed my life. Come check us out you won't be sad!!
— Rebecca Oppermann (@puglife801) March 6, 2019
If the Jazz can make the move from Louisiana, so can you!
— Ricky Macias (@EstaRicky) March 2, 2019
Even Utah’s Lt. Governor Spencer Cox took the time to respond.
“Kaitlynn, we don’t know each other…but trust me when I tell you that might be the best $40 you’ve ever spent!” Cox retweeted.
That’s when the tweet really “blew up,” Lovelady says. Soon, she was hearing from Utahns and Louisianans alike sharing their thoughts on what her decision should be.
While many Salt Lake City residents were already suggesting good tourist attractions for her to see on her visit, others, including Southern Louisiana Community College, tried their best to convince her to stay, even starting the hashtag #KeepKaitlynnInLA.
Lovelady says she’s shocked by the attention the tweet received.
“I went to bed not thinking anything [about it], and when I woke up my phone had so many notifications,” she says.
After several interviews with local news teams in Louisiana, Lovelady was contacted by a local Utah businessman who offered to pay for her trip to Salt Lake City. Lovelady and the currently anonymous Utah resident have some plans in the works, including a tour of a Salt Lake Community College campus and all the college’s resources.
“We are happy to do so for any student interested in SLCC,” explains Sarah Reale, the director of digital marketing at Salt Lake Community College.
Reale gave the college’s perspective on the story.
“At SLCC, we always try to engage with students and the community, when appropriate,” she says.
Reale explains that no matter where Kaitlynn decides to go to school, that SLCC is glad she is pursuing higher education and also about the great engagement this story generated.
Lovelady says that Utah news organizations have also reached out to follow and document her trip to Salt Lake. She plans to leave in April.
Lovelady says she is nervous about the trip, this being her first time traveling. At the same time, she feels quite excited for it.
“Everyone has already been so welcoming,” she explains. “And I honestly cannot wait to go there. It leaves me speechless.”