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Future Comms: More Social Sparks

Posted on Jun 12, 2013

Following the announcement of the 2013 CASE COE Awards winners we grabbed the opportunity to say something about them. We picked out 5 winners, all in the Social Media category, and all great examples of excellence in the Higher Education world.

One: University of Huddersfield – Aliens in the Hud


This UK winner reminds us that the CASE COE Awards are truly global. It’s the story of aliens on the brink of invading the Huddersfield campus but it manages to mix this creative, fun, yet still somewhat out-of-this-world theme, with a really strong current of key themes to entice prospective students. In the short video, we are treated to a tour of the campus, its facilities and some of the courses on offer. We meet real students. We hear what they learn and we watch them apply it.
But at the same time we are treated to a rather bizarre and enjoyable story of what happens to the planned alien invasion. Employability and enterprise meets popcorn! You can see everything, including how it was made here.

Two: Princeton University – Alumpics


Whilst London’s Olympics enjoyed the global spotlight, 7 of the Ivy+ universities enjoyed their own games of sorts. The only hurdles in the US though were the challenges in generating ‘likes’ for photographs. Via Facebook, alumni from the competing universities voted with their thumbs on a total of 70 images capturing alumni-related life. At times the competition was as hot as you’d expect from these rivals, possibly befitting the Olympic Stadium in Stratford, East London. The real test for Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, MIT, Penn, Princeton, and Stanford though was to beat other on the social media track – more ‘likes’ meant more medals. Two weeks later and the alumni pages of Facebook were awash with gold, silver and bronze. Thousands of alumni had got involved. Vital connections made. A well deserved CASE medal for the people behind it all.

Three: Hobart and William Smiths Colleges – The Quake on the Lake


Forget the Rumble in the Jungle. Or the Thriller in Manilla. The US Alumni world have been tuned into the Quake on the Lake. Yes, a fight to the end, with the punches being powered by donations. Fundraising just went up a gear! Billed as ‘2 colleges, 2 days and a lifetime of bragging rights’, these colleges continue the theme of friendly rivalry to secure new followers and more donations. Whilst the punches flew, the CASE judges awarded the points and summarised that the campaign ‘did a good job at appealing to a niche annual giving audience who may not have been givers in the past, with positive response from young alumni.’ We particularly liked the way updates, mainly through tweets, were given a Storify home embedded in the campaign pages. We’re not sure just how successful it all was but it must have made a mark as the Quake on the Lake 2 has just finished with William ‘Towering Pine’ delivering the crucial knockout blow.

Four: Columbia – Giving Day


Gold winner for Social Media and Grand Gold for Fundraising, this 24 hour campaign really stands out. Hosted within its own web pages, housed within a Facebook stronghold of over 24,000 alumni followers, this campaign generated donations worth a staggering $6.8m in a single day. This was done by reminding Columbia alumni around the world of the life-changing impacts the university has. On that single day on October 24, live video events were hosted, a Deans’ roundtable was put under the spotlight and even Nobel Laureates came out to open up the conversation. 39 countries took part. 19 schools and programmes, spurred by the incentive of claiming a performance-related pay-day, did their best to engage with people everywhere. Rallying calls, such as ‘Let’s show those other schools that people still care about the arts enough to support them’, instigated the competitiveness to achieve as much as they possibly could. Go and watch the video to get more insight. A fantastic example of how mobilising and engaging a university, whilst embracing social technologies, can have a massive impact!

Five: Augustana – Good Fit


Sometimes though the simplest ideas work so well. You can’t deny the impact that photos can have in social media. Ohio State University have stood out for their ability to generate over 10,000 images of people spelling out O-H-I-O with their arms. Just imagine what the ‘likes’, ‘shares’ and ‘tags’ of this can do. No wonder that Ohio State is closing in on the amazing 5000,000 follower mark on Facebook. So our last mention goes to the gold winning Augustana and their own photo competition. It involves t-shirts, photos and imaginative locations. With over 100 entries and over 10,000 votes for the winning photo, they prove that a simple image can really capture people’s imaginations.

Well done to all the CASE COE winners this year. We should mention Johns Hopkins who also claimed an award in the Social Media category for their handling of the gun policy debate in the US. It’s a serious issue and something we’ll look into in more detail as we put all of these examples into our lab. If you want to know more about how the Future Index can share content directly with you, inspire you and help you apply your own breakthrough actions then do contact us via our website.
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