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elanaOver the last few months, Bard College at Simon’s Rock has seen significant digital communication expansion, as well as upgrades. Among them: A series of 20 new student profiles, an Admission page facelift, a Newsroom redesign, and a new student blog managed through Admission. Not to mention the growing body of Facebook pages the College is rolling out. Adding to the Admission page, the College now includes among its social media universe a page devoted to campus exhibitions, as well as a hugely popular alumni Facebook page, which has more than 800 fans in its first month alone.

PROFILES, BLOGS, AND LANDING PAGES

The most apparent change on the website is the addition of new student profiles. Departing from the previous format, the new profiles include a longer narrative piece; an example of the student’s work; a new color palette; and three rotating chalkboard portraits shot in front of a quote that has inspired the student. Also, the number of students showcased has grown from eight to 20—nearly five percent of the campus. Read primarily by prospective students and their families, the profiles attempt to help newcomers get a sense of what it is to be a Simon’s Rock student, and moreover, what it’s like to attend.

“Simon’s Rock students are deeply impressive individuals,” says Briee Della Rocca, the College’s director of communications. “They are passionate, intellectual, diverse and intensely reflective about their work, and about the College. Because of that, there really is no better way to relate what it means to be at Simon’s Rock than through the voices of our students.”

The profiles are not the only new content for prospective and their families. A new student blog was launched this fall. Managed by admission counselor Sara Mugridge ’00, it features the writing of a handful of student bloggers. The idea, says Mugridge, is to provide a behind-the-scenes peek into the admission process, as well as to showcase students at different points in their Simon's Rock experience. “When prospective students and their families come to campus, they almost always remark on how much they appreciate meeting our students. This is one way to give them more access to the variety of perspectives on campus so they get a better sense of what it's like to live and learn here.”

All of these changes are anchored by an Admission landing page upgrade. The page now features a gallery of seven feature stories, links to the College’s social media accounts, pictures of the counselors, and a robust FAQ page. The bottom line, Steve Coleman, director of Admission says, is that "our pages are fresher, more colorful, easier to navigate, and more informative."

ALUMNI FAN THE FACEBOOK PAGE

Last month, Institutional Advancement created (what was evidently) a long awaited Facebook page. Within hours the fan count reached the hundreds, and a month later has grown to include 800 fans and counting. Alumni from around the country and around the world are reaching out to connect with each other and get more frequent, less official updates from the College.

The creation of the Facebook page is just the first step in a longer plan to upgrade alumni communications and virtual spaces. In the meantime, alums are reconnecting, planning meet-ups, reminiscing, and getting the kind of warm campus updates only alumni can truly appreciate.

NEWSROOM GETS A FACELIFT

The Newsroom, which is now the College’s primary publication, was also redesigned. The facelift not only incorporates a new look and feel, but new functions too. New features include share handles that allow visitors to directly email stories, link them to Facebook, Digg, or Tweet them. Pairing back, the monthly publication will now focus on relaying feature and news stories, the most popular reader segments.

“Simon’s Rock is a unique institution,” Christopher Sink, director of College Relations noted. “It’s very exciting to have new and creative ways to share the College’s mission and to keep in touch with prospective students, the campus community, alumni, families, and friends. We’re looking forward to continuing to offer improved web communications.”

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