Newhouse Students Collaborate with Schools on Social Media, Marketing

| February 1, 2013
photo Newhouse students

Students from Syracuse University’s Newhouse School visited Bishop
Grimes while developing a social media campaign.

Over the past year and a half, four diocesan schools have collaborated with public relations students at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications to develop strategic PR campaigns aimed at increasing enrollment and retention efforts. The initiative is part of an upper level Newhouse course, Special Projects: Public Relations Campaigns, taught by Adjunct Professor Caroline K. Reff, who also serves as the marketing consultant for the Catholic Schools Office.

“This has been a wonderful opportunity for our Catholic schools to tap into the resources of the bright, creative and innovative students at the Newhouse School,” said Reff. “The class is an exercise in developing a PR campaign for a real-world client, so the students focused on enrollment and retention issues related to social media, special events planning and more. The Catholic schools were able to reap the rewards with well-planned campaigns that are being used to help in their marketing efforts.”

In the fall 2011, Bishop Ludden Junior/Senior High School and Bishop Grimes Prep worked with Newhouse students to further their social media efforts and enhance enrollment and retention opportunities. Both schools had tested the waters of social media but neither was using these resources to their full potential. Bishop Ludden Principal Michael Sandore and Development Director Gallagher Driscoll and Bishop Grimes Principal Marc Crouse and Advancement Director Claire Downey met with students throughout the semester — both on the SU Hill and on site — to develop campaigns that fit each school’s needs. Bishop Ludden ended the semester with a social media plan and an idea for an alumni networking event called “Life After Ludden.” Grimes also received a social media plan with an alumni focus, as well as an outline of a summer sports camp event aimed at recruiting new students.

“The marketing strategies that were created by the teams of Newhouse students have been a tremendous asset for Bishop Ludden – particularly the use of social media to enhance our current advancement and development efforts,” said Sandore.

“Bishop Grimes Prep appreciated the opportunity to work with the students at Newhouse,” added Downey. “We have incorporated elements from each of the presentations in our advancement procedures. We now have an iPad and update our Facebook and Twitter accounts regularly, communicate with our alumni via email regularly and have also made some changed to an elective offered to our students to include career opportunities and connections to our alumni – all thanks to insight from the students at Newhouse.”

social media iconsOnce the semester was complete, both schools took advantage of an opportunity to work with other Newhouse students through Hill Communications,
a student-run advertising agency at the university. Over the spring 2012 semester, Newhouse students worked with the schools to develop a social media use handbook and a style guide, while also continuing to increase each school’s presence on Facebook and Twitter. In addition, Catholic Schools Superintendent Christopher Mominey worked with a team of students to enhance his blog and further his use
of Twitter.

In the fall of 2012, Reff again taught PR Campaigns at Newhouse and invited two more schools to take part in the process. St. Mary’s Academy in Baldwinsville, NY, and Holy Cross School in Dewitt, NY, joined a new group of Newhouse seniors to again develop campaigns that enhance their current recruitment and retention efforts. Projects included a redesign of the principal’s newsletter and a special event plan for the opening of St. Mary’s proposed playground, as well as the creation of an alumni web page, early registration incentives and an online virtual tour for Holy Cross.

“Working side-by-side with my teammates and Principal Mary Conroy gave me real life experience with both the strengths and weaknesses of campaign development,” said Newhouse senior Jessica Ente. “I think the student expertise in the developing digital world will truly help the Catholic schools with successful plans that will improve both retention and enrollment. I couldn’t be more thankful for the opportunity to create a strategic PR campaign for our client.”

Submitted by Inkwell Creative Services, Syracuse, NY.


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Category: Digital

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