If your university’s mobile app already includes utilities and features your students need access to on a daily basis–such as dining details, shuttle schedules, indoor and outdoor maps, and course information–you’re off to a great start. But now it’s time to add a little “life” to your campus app with modules for clubs, organizations or virtually any special program. Providing up-to-date, real-time information for any student activity is a sure-fire way to keep students engaged and guarantee that they come to rely on your app as a central information hub.
Today, with easy-to-use app assembly systems, mobile teams can even delegate admin privileges to non-technical students and staff so they can build their own apps for any purpose. These apps can still reside within the central campus app and seamlessly integrate with existing app resources like maps, directories, social feeds and more, creating a true one-stop shop for campus life. The ability to delegate dramatically reduces the mobile burden on IT, and also makes the most of a university’s mobile investment.
Here’s some inspiration on ways you can incorporate Student Life into your campus app:
- Different campus clubs or organizations can create their own apps with information like meeting times, dues, and upcoming events specifically tailored to the clubs’ members.
- Performance groups in theater, music, or dance can create apps to let people know about performance locations and times, as well as ticket availability and pricing.
- Academic Advising and Support can provide information on study tips, major requirements, academic resources, and student mentorships.
- Career Advisors can develop modules that focus on campus recruiting, career fairs and advice for students in specific academic fields.
- International groups can speak to foreign students on campus as well as prospective students living abroad, and can serve as a great resource for those unsure how to navigate a new, unfamiliar country.
- Orientation Staff can provide new students, transfers or employees fast and useful information, such as checklists, event calendars, social networking opportunities and more, to ease the transition to campus life.
- Greek Life groups can use the app to keep membership informed about activities and to spread the word about charity and community events.
- Any campus life group can add details about local activities, helping students learn about the area, find what’s available for off-campus activities. Some useful information might include where the best study spots are located, when group hikes or skiing trips are taking place, or where to find museums and libraries.
A great example of an app focused on Student Life is the Shoestring Strategies for Life at Harvard app, built entirely by non-technical undergraduate students. This app shares practical budgeting tips for Harvard students on everything from how to have fun, study abroad, find student jobs, cheap textbooks or music lessons, and manage finances in many other ways.
Another excellent example is the Living at UMass app, from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. This app includes events calendars, news, academic resources, information on how to get involved with different clubs and more. The app also had a special module just for fall Move-In day, complete with schedule details and custom maps and directions. Living at UMass was easy to create and maintain because it leverages important campus data sources such as social media, videos, photos and even responsively designed web pages to create a central information hub for students on the go.
Today, easy-to-use tools allow non-technical students and staff to quickly create apps for campus organizations, programs, and events. Including student life in your campus app promotes community on the campus and engagement with your users. More importantly, it gives students a way to grow stronger ties with their college or university and connect with their peers. Part of a college education is about experiencing a new community, meeting new people, and exploring a new environment –a robust campus app can help students accomplish all three.
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