Client Spotlight: University of Florida
Our thanks go out to Amy Jorgensen, Marketing Coordinator at University of Florida, for sitting down with us for this UF spotlight.
Amy Jorgensen, Marketing Coordinator at University of Florida
Tell us about your journey to and experience within Higher Education
I was highly encouraged to start a career in higher education by my grandfather. He was the Director of the University of Connecticut Stamford campus and taught at UMASS Amherst. My aunt also teaches at the University of Hartford, so I guess you can say I was destined to start a higher ed career.
I spent about 10 years in the hospitality industry, working for companies like Disney, Universal Studios, and KSL Recreation. I had recently returned from working at Universal Studios Japan when I decided to return to college. I was offered a position as a secretary at UF, and knew that I had to live in the Gator Nation.
Coming to UF is the best decision I have ever made. The Department of Housing and Residence Education is one of the best work environments I’ve ever encountered. After the secretarial position, I worked in the UF College of Medicine and even took a brief position at Disney in Internal Communications and Marketing, before the Department of Housing called me back for my dream job and I very happily found myself back in Gainesville
My experience with the University of Florida has been incredibly rewarding. The Department of Housing and Residence Education supported my efforts to finish my degree. In addition, I work with one of the best teams in the country and am very lucky to have such a great boss. Our Associate Director, TJ Logan, is one of the best bosses I\'ve ever had - very supportive and motivating. I definitely recommend working at the University of Florida, especially the Division of Student Affairs.
So now you are Marketing Coordinator at UF Housing & Residence Education, what is UF\'s social media presence, what is your strategy?
We had around 1400 Facebook fans when I started, and now we’ve grown to just little under 5400. While this is important, I think it’s important to also measure success through consumer engagement factors: page views, interactions, comments, and posts. All the fans in the world don\'t matter if they\'re not engaged, interested, and ready to share your information.
Some of Facebook.com/UFHousing 2011 highlights include 182 comments in one day, almost 6000 weekly active users, and nearly 390,000 Facebook page views in only one month. That many page views was very exciting! In comparison, our website had about 800,000 page views in a whole year - so to obtain almost half that in one month was very exciting! For more strategy, you can check out the presentation on social media I did at the ACHUO-I Business Conference.
I believe that RoomSync can be a significant component of enriching our consumer engagement. It is also a tremendous customer service tool, and a fantastic amenity that any higher education housing facility should consider!
What were the biggest challenges in roommate assignment for UF housing before RoomSync?
We think it's very important for students to choose their roommate. This way, students can have a more positive experience because they feel empowered.
UF is one of the select few universities that allows its students to choose their room and roommate during the assignments process. Early applicants can hold a space for a roommate that they find through social media, RoomSync or someone they knew from high school. Building students into the process and allowing them to to have choices can greatly increase customer satisfaction.
According to TJ Logan, staff noticed a reduction in roommate conflicts and in problems related to room transfers. Students hold themselves more accountable when they choose their own roommates and they learn how to compromise.
So what would you say is the most effective way of getting the word out to students so they are excited and use RoomSync?
I think the best way is through social media. Many students don't pay attention to emails anymore. For the younger generation, it’s all about texts and social media. Begin with email and include all the information; then send a reminder email a week or month later.
Tell us about the growth of the RoomSync network.
The growth at the University of Florida has been quite positive! Our first year had about 1300 users and the second year grew to 3300 users. We have about 7500 undergrads living in campus housing, so it’s pretty great when half are using RoomSync. About 80% of users are first-year students and even for those who didn\'t find their roommate, RoomSync provides a great opportunity to build community before students are even on campus.
Now for some fun questions. What is your favorite movie?
Splash, 1984. Tom Hanks, Daryl Hannah, Eugene Levy, John Candy. How could you not love this movie?!
Who is your favorite musician?
Pre-1990 Michael Jackson. Off the Wall always gets me going! I’m also a big fan of Journey, Aerosmith, and other classic rock.