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5 Ways to Keep Community Spirit Strong at Traditional Universities

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When college-bound students imagine the college experience, they picture life on campus. Pre-pandemic, that transformative rite of passage played out every day at your school. For now, the college experience is yet another thing we’re largely accomplishing through Wi-Fi.

However, your institution still has the advantages of a traditional university—community spirit being among the most important. When a student attends your school, they have an instant bond with the millions of people who trod those sidewalks before them. They’re a Falcon or a Hoosier or a Mountaineer for life.

How do you promote socially distanced community spirit? It takes strategy. The key is connecting people, and no form of communication connects quite like video. iostudio’s video production and content marketing teams have been helping universities like NC State, Hillsdale College and Nossi College of Art show off their strengths for nearly a decade. Now they’re finding new ways to connect people when connection means more than ever. It may be a while before we can high-five about it, but we can still help you bring your community together.

Livestream events, especially sports

It’s no surprise that people miss watching sports in person; they’re a big-time community builder. However, with alumni and parents being able to watch from across the country, livestreaming games could actually boost attendance. iostudio recently coordinated a live event for a nonprofit that retained the feeling of immediacy and increased its reach. Including a chat feature (a la Instagram Live) or encouraging students and fans to Tweet along reminds them that they’re watching it together.

Catch up with alumni

No one can speak to the value of an education from your university quite like your alumni. Share their stories through a series of videos that discuss a little about their time at your school and a lot about how it set them up for success, like the one we made for Hillsdale College’s Journalism program. They can tell you what it means to them to be an alumnus or alumna of your university—and why it’s important to stick around.

Tell your school’s story

Now’s the time to talk about what makes your university special and what it means to be a part of it. Use video spotlights or live Q&A sessions to remind followers of the things that make your school great and how they continue a long tradition of excellence like the one at NC State. Your students might not currently be doing their learning in classrooms, but reminding them of the classrooms and lecture halls they’ll return to is important for both attracting new students and maintaining enrollment.

Lean into the challenge

Talk about changes. What does a day look like for your students, whether they’re learning remotely from their dorm, from an apartment or house near campus, or from their parents’ house hundreds of miles away? Other students might be traveling, grabbing Wi-Fi from Airbnbs, campgrounds and hotspots. This is a school year unlike any other. Document it.

Make it a point of pride to continue your education during these times

The right hashtag or slogan can communicate what it means to be a student at your college in 2020, and it can lead a social media campaign or be emblazoned across T-shirts, notebooks and other gear—maybe as part of an encouraging welcome package.

Your students are a community regardless of where they sit as they learn. The benefits of enrollment at your university, including that community spirit, haven’t changed, but the way students access them probably has. Through video, social media strategy and content marketing, iostudio can help you communicate what your college has to offer.

iostudio can help you keep your community connected. Students, alumni, faculty, staff, parents and sports fans—all their lives have been changed forever by your university and what it has to offer. Reach out to us today to start reinforcing those bonds.

Gene Bedell, Business Solutions Strategist