In this blog series, we'll be focusing on how Higher Educational Institutions use technology to communicate with and engage their students and alumni. First up, we're covering the Student Activities office - stay tuned to hear about Admissions, Alumni Engagement, and more!
The Student Activities office plays a vital role on college campuses, empowering students to cultivate connections within their community and creating a sense of investment and belonging on campus. They prepare students for success after college, as well as enhancing the campus environment and creating a positive and inclusive experience for the student body. There are a variety of technologies available to help Student Activities professionals excel in their work, particularly Constituent Relationship Management (CRM) databases that allow easy tracking and management of campus events and general student involvement. Using a CRM database to manage Student Activities functions can save time, increase efficiency, allow for more accurate reporting on student engagement, and help staff identify and capitalize on trends and successes. Here are four of the best ways that using a CRM can help a Student Activities office increase engagement on campus.
1. Track and manage students, groups, and activities effectively
To increase student engagement, it is first necessary to accurately determine the level of involvement currently happening on campus and monitor any changes. This requires a database that can easily track a large number of students and measure their participation in a variety of different activities. A CRM system for student activities professionals needs to be able to track student participation in clubs and student groups, campus events, and more.
Monitoring student group membership is made easy with the ability to tag students' database records with an a custom code, enabling staff to easily pull reports on the population of each club and overall student group participation levels. This type of system also allows administrators to take a close-up view of any student's individual profile, to see what groups and activities they are involved in.
Tools like EveryActions's Engagement Points feature allow staff to assign custom "point" levels to various actions that students take, including everything from opening Student Life emails to planning and hosting their own campus events. This unified system creates an easy way to measure the overall level of engagement on a campus, combining and standardizing metrics for all of the various ways that a student might be interacting with their community.
When a Student Activities office is using a CRM to track students' participation, it is a simple process to identify areas and trends where involvement is high. Simply analyze that data and use it to inform future decisions and replicate successes, to ultimately drive increased engagement across campus.
2. Host, promote, and track campus events with ease
Running and tracking events across a large campus presents multiple challenges, but having a database equipped with event organizing tools makes the process simple and painless. Features like online sign-up forms and an integrated event calendar enable Student Activities staff to track events, hosts, locations, and attendance all in one place.
Using an event management tool like EveryAction's is the best way keep track of what is going on around campus and hold all participation data in one place. With online registration forms that connect directly with events on the database calendar, keeping track of attendance has never been easier. Whether you are setting up a recurring event, an event that will take place at multiple locations, or multiple events hosted by different student groups, a student database with event tools lets you get a birds' eye view of everything happening on campus.
3. Use mobile optimized, social media integrated communication
For most college students, their cellphone never leaves their side - 94% even want to use mobile phones as an educational device in classrooms. As students increasingly interact with the world through the lens of smartphones, it is crucial for Student Activities departments to offer mobile optimized communications that will reach students where they are.
Event registration forms and other email communication should always be formatted for mobile screens, but you won't truly be optimizing your potential to communicate with students until you have integrated your database with social media. EveryAction's advanced social matching features match student profiles with over 100 different social media accounts, giving administrators a fuller picture of the most effective communication methods.
Facebook events database integration is another invaluable tool for communicating with and engaging students. Due to the viral nature of Facebook events, they have the capability of generating much more buzz and excitement than a simple web-based RSVP form. With Facebook events integration, the names of students who sign up to attend an even on Facebook will be automatically imported into your database, allowing college to take advantage of social media marketing without sacrificing accurate attendance tracking.
4. Empower students through voter registration
College students are known for their activism around social issues, and more and more campuses are starting to focus on encouraging them to participate in the political process by registering to vote. In 2018, a midterm election year, the focus of many student engagement programs will be turned toward running voter registration programs on campus.
EveryAction's voter data tools make it easy for Student Life staff to run non-partisan voter registration programs, focused on engaging students on campus and in their communities through civic participation. For an effective campus voter registration drive, use your student database in conjunction with voter data to determine the rate of voter registration on campus. Then use both digital and in-person tools to register students, and measure the increase in civic engagement.
As students' lives become increasingly data and technology driven, it is important for college and university staff to continue advancing as well. Using a CRM database to track student participation doesn't just make the lives of Student Activities staff easier, it opens up new ways to create an inclusive and experiential environment on a college campus. For more information about how to use technology to increase student engagement on your campus, click below!