Resource:How to leverage your campus communications office

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Take 4 seconds and find your college’s website home page. Go ahead, I’ll wait...

What do you see? Usually, you will see several pictures that spotlight students and faculty endeavors, academic success, research progress and cultural growth. The home page should capture the pillars of your University, and the organization that ensures that the University brand is well represented online and in print is the campus communications office.

What Is A Campus Communications Office (CCO)?

CCOs are filled with experts in mass communications. Whether through social media, alumni magazines, community publications, photos, videos, administrative speeches, emails and press releases, CCOs know how to spread the word. Campus Communications Office is a general term that may describe different things at different universities. Some universities require people in charge of communications for individual departments, for individual colleges, athletic departments, and the entire university. The size of your university will dictate the size of its communications office.

What can a CCO do for you?

As a UIF, you are no doubt hard at work preparing some kind of workshop/program/maker space/entrepreneur network/world changing phenomenon, but if no one hears about it, will it even make a sound? A great way to advertise your events is through the different campus communication networks. They can get the word out and stir up excitement for your cause along with broadcasting important information to the campus.

How To Develop A Relationship With You CCO

Reach Out

Identify the hierarchy of communication at your school. Does your department have a specific person in charge of communication? Does your college have its own communications team? Is the university small enough to have one office in charge of all messages expressed by the university?

Document Your Work

Document everything! CCOs love pictures, so make sure as soon as you start breaking out the white board markers and sticky notes, someone is capturing it all in photos. This will help later if you want them to help advertise your group or project.

Make Progress First

Don’t depend on CCOs as the only source of advertising. CCOs want stories that sell the university. This usually requires evidence of progress. If you are still in the idea phase looking for alumni to help bring your idea forward, you may want to reach out to the alumni network directly. CCOs need activity to present, they won’t build your core group of stakeholders.

Invite Them To Events

Invite CCOs to your events! No one likes being left in the cold, least of all your friendly neighborhood CCO. It’s always easier to show than to tell, so if you want to get your vision across to a broad audience through the CCO, make sure they can see your vision first hand.

Plan Ahead

Align your venture/endeavor with a core value of your university. Many universities have a few guiding principles that appear in most university advertising. If you can show how your event or program moves the university closer to its own goals, that will improve the chances of your university wanting to spread your word through its CCO.

When A CCO Is Not Enough
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Do not rely solely on your campus communications office as the only source to get your information out there. If your college’s CCO just does not have everything your looking for, don’t fret! There are other options. Social media is a great outlet to spread the word and get people involved in your cause. Look for student newspapers or means of communication that do not go directly through your college. There are often other organizations that would love to help you with your cause.

By: Trevor Clevenger, Alexander Bina