Monday, September 11, 2017

College students can sometimes feel lost in a large campus environment, especially if they are new to university life. As a student services professional, you can intervene by helping students feel more comfortable and acclimated to their environment so students can reach their full potential. 

To effectively accomplish this, you will need to encourage a communicative campus culture. Here are some tips on how to make this happen:

1. Set up designated “connectors”

To foster a welcoming environment, assign people to be "connectors," or those who go out into the campus, mingle with the students and report back any issues that need attention. These “connectors” should bridge the gap between staff and students, and gather among them, assess the environment, offer assistance, and make students feel at ease and comfortable communicating with staff. 

2. Establish social communities

Your students are likely online, so you should be there as well if you want to build a communicative campus culture. Create a Facebook group or other social forum/community for your students where they can gather and talk to each other and/or meet the staff and interact with you. Use the social group also to notify students of any events or school changes, and to inspire and connect with them.

Include the link to this group on all campus correspondence, whether online or offline. When advertising the social group, stress the importance of communication and the campus culture. 

3. Horizontal communication

Effective communication starts from the top. To promote a communicative environment with students, you need to first promote a communicative environment internally. It’s common for staff to break into silos and isolate themselves from others. This isolation, however, can result in misaligned goals and outcomes which will affect the campus environment. To counteract this, practice transparency and sharing among teams and build upon a foundation of understanding and trust. Your collaboration and sense of purpose will filter down into the student environment and contribute to a more communicative culture. 

4. Voice broadcasting

Voice broadcasting is a cost-effective, efficient tool to stay in communication with students. Instead of hand-dialing individual students or emailing each one, with voice broadcasting, send a custom message to all of your students simultaneously and within seconds. Send messages for notifications like school closings, weather alerts, unexpected events, or alerts for overdue payments. 

Grand Rapids Community College implemented SMS texting and voice broadcasting to address new students and classes every semester and also send messages for tuition, event and recruitment reminders. As a result of implementing the new technology, the college has expanded its reach and student interaction. It has experienced an increase in event attendance rates and a 5-10% increase in payment rates and has saved time and money by calling thousands of students in seconds instead of making manual calls. 

With CallFire’s voice broadcasting service, all you need is a telephone and an internet connection. Simply upload your contact list and record your voice. Send your message immediately or schedule it for another time. If your students do not pick up, the system can leave messages or automatically call them back. We would love to help you better communicate with your students and enhance your campus culture. To get started with voice broadcasting, sign up for a free account here.