Case Studies

Blazing a Trail: How Dixie State encourages engagement with an app-based traditions program

Blazing a Trail: How Dixie State encourages engagement with an app-based traditions program

May 7, 2019

By MobileUp Software

According to its school website, Dixie State University chose Trailblazers as its mascot in honor of those who settled the Western United States and to represent the pioneering nature of its students.

So when it comes to a traditions education program, it should come as no surprise that the university bypassed printed books and conventional methods and forged ahead with the latest in mobile technology and a custom app from MobileUp Software.

“First and foremost, we wanted to find a way for students and alumni to get more involved with the university,” said Cade Gardner the Director of Traditions at the Dixie State University Student Alumni Association of the decision to use an app. “It is easy for a student, after attending the university, to move on and leave it behind. Our hope was that these students would still be avid participants and supporters of Dixie State University after they left in part because of their experiences with our traditions in the app.”

How It Works

To begin, students browse a list of traditions in the app, tapping each one to reveal more details.

In addition to background information about the tradition, each description includes a challenge for the student that he or she completes by taking a photo or selfie at the site on campus or around St. George, UT, where the school is located.

The photos are then aggregated into a Highlight Reel for all students to view. Also, students earn a point for each tradition completion, moving them up the ranks in the competition with other students on the Traditions Leaderboard.

Here are examples of how traditions are presented in a listing and detail information screens.

Here are examples of how traditions are presented in a listing that can be tapped to reveal detailed information screens.

Here are examples of the photo reel of completed traditions and the student leaderboard.

Here are examples of the photo reel of completed traditions and the student leaderboard.

Getting Promotional

After the app was made available to the university's 10,000 students, sessions grew to about 4,000 sessions a month in late 2018 and early 2019.

Not satisfied with that, Gardner and his team combined a few promotional activities with their app awareness campaigns to drive interest in traditions and sessions to about 6,000 a month as the school year ends.

Following are some examples of the activities they used:

Traditions Taxi

In the Dixie State version of the popular “Cash Cab” television show, representatives of the Student Alumni Association used a golf cart to provide free rides to students across campus.

The catch?

The free-riding students had to answer various questions about Dixie State traditions and download the traditions app.

The videos of the rides are archived in the app and remain one of its most accessed features.

“It was a lot of fun,” Gardner said. “Not just for the students but for us too!”

The promotion spread knowledge about traditions, increased app downloads, and generated popular content at the same time. Check it out:

Here are examples of the photo reel of completed traditions and the student leaderboard.
Week of Traditions

The Dixie State Student Alumni Association hosts various events on campus for students and the community such as movies and tailgate parties throughout the year.

In addition to providing free entertainment, the SAA makes a habit of handing out free information about the traditions app at all these events to drive downloads.

These efforts helped drive the initial user base for the app.

But wanting to take it to the next level, Gardner and his team decided to concentrate these activities into a “Week of Traditions” on campus that also served as an informal app re-launch in the middle of the spring semester.

There were numerous activities scheduled including a well-attended campus campfire which included free s'mores and, of course, plenty of information about the app and how to download it.

Scavenger Hunt

Another activity was an app-based scavenger hunt that featured the grand prize of a new 32-inch TV.

Anyone who had the app installed with notifications enabled was eligible. Gardner and his team “hid” in a place on campus and sent a clue about their location via push notification every 10 minutes until they were found.

The hunt made one student the proud owner of a new TV but also was effective in driving engagement.

Here are some of the notifications the Dixie State traditions team sent.
Here is the effect the notifications had on user sessions.
”Foodie Friday Night“

The final event was ”Foodie Friday Night“ where five different restaurants in St. George agreed to provide discounts to whoever showed the Dixie State traditions app on their phone at the time of purchase.

It was a busy week. But the team's app promotion efforts paid off.

“The whole week increased our new users by 97% compared to the week before,” Gardner said.

Conclusion

As Gardner and his team demonstrated this school year, persistence pays when trying to educate a student body and community about your school's traditions.

It also helps to have a tool like a custom app that centralizes activities and delivers information through everyone's preferred method of communication these days - their smartphones.

“The traditions app is helping our students to become better alumni and it is helping alumni to get more involved,” Gardner said. “We hope it continues to grow and become even more useful for the university and the community.”

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