Connect with NC State, a web-based program designed to help NC State employees develop a strong relationship with the university, has been recognized by the Association of College Unions International (ACUI) and the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE). ACUI awarded it First Place in their annual Steal This Idea competition in the category of Digital Campaign – Professional Staff, and CASE awarded the program their Southeast District 3 Grand Award in the category of Programs and Projects.
Created by the Staff Diversity Advisory Board, which is convened by Director of Staff Diversity Dr. Deb Luckadoo, the Connect with NC State website was designed by John Starbuck, member of the board and web developer for Campus Enterprises. John dubbed it the “Employee Bucket List.”
The Staff Diversity Advisory Board spent a meeting about a year ago discussing the importance of employees participating in the wide array of programs and events on campus, as well as being familiar with the various special and traditional places on campus. Board members believed that such participation and familiarity would nurture a sense of connection to campus.
In their next meeting, they brainstormed a list of over 100 activities and places. They modeled it after “52 Things to Do Before you Graduate,” a program sponsored by Student Government, but they came up with a much larger list and John had the brilliant idea to employ an interactive website to deliver the program as easily as possible.
Connect with NC State is promoted to all new employees through the New Employee Orientation program sponsored by the Onboarding Center. The orientation packets include business cards with the web address and a QR code that are highlighted in the opening session by an Onboarding Center staff member.
Over the summer of 2014, a committee of the Staff Diversity Advisory Board worked on a campaign to market the site to all employees, not just the new hires. Co-sponsored with the Staff Senate and endorsed by Chancellor Woodson, Connect with NC State employed multiple-channel social media to engage employees with the activities and locations on the bucket list site. Participants were encouraged to submit “selfies” that documented their participation in an event or visit to a location. They could use a social media platform, including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Flickr, or they could attach the photo to email and send it. When the employees used the hashtag #connectncstate, the photos could be collected and uploaded to the website.
Employees were encouraged to participate in the program through the opportunity to win prizes such as football tickets with parking passes to each home game, performances sponsored by Arts NC State, tickets to the International Festival of Raleigh, and clothing from the NC State bookstore. Every two weeks, employees who had submitted selfies were entered in the prize drawing.
Google Analytics show that to date, there have been over 1900 entrances to the site, with 1600+ unique visitors to 6000+ page views. Seventy-seven employees entered the contest last fall, with 20 participants winning prizes.
John Starbuck and his supervisor, Jennifer Gilmore, Director of Marketing and Communications for Campus Enterprises, submitted the nominations of Connect with NC State to the competitions. Questions about this program may be directed to Dr. Deb Luckadoo. See the Diversity Digest for more articles.