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Communications and Marketing collects three CASE awards


Union has received three Accolades awards from the Council for the Advancement of Secondary Education (CASE) for the 2011-12 academic year. 

The Department of Communications and Marketing won a CASE Gold in the category of Student Recruitment for a special website, "Pathfinders: Where a Union Education Can Take You." The primary objective of the site is to convey to prospective students the College's diverse educational offerings and the return on investment of a Union degree.

The visually compelling website showcases interviews with a diverse group of accomplished alumni including doctors and research professionals, a DreamWorks animator and the former editor of Cosmopolitan Magazine.

Spearheaded by Web Director Kenneth George, the content-rich site also includes bulleted factoids about the College, alumni newsmakers headlines (updated monthly), links to unfiltered student bloggers (a.k.a “Future Pathfinders”), an academic programs page and links to Admissions contact information.

The department won a Silver in the category of Excellence in News Writing for a collection of stories on the College's news site, union.edu/news.

Stories that originally appeared on the site helped enhance Union's national reputation by attracting coverage in media outlets including the Chronicle of Higher Education, the Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, CNN, National Public Radio and others.

Here are the highlights of the judges' comments:

Articles underscore mission of college; connects the institution with broader societal presence; stories grabbed attention; great media pickup.

This marks the second time in three years the news site was recognized by CASE. In 2010, the site received an honorable mention for storytelling.

The Web news team includes Phil Wajda, director of Media Relations, and Christen Gowan, assistant director of Media Relations and Social Media. Contributors include Tina Lincer, associate director of Communications, Charlie Casey, senior editor of News and Publications, and Erin DeMuth Judd, associate editor of Publications.

In addition, the department received an honorable mention in the Social Media category for its work during the men's hockey team's trip to its First Frozen Four in school history. To keep the campus community and alumni around the world informed and engaged as the team pursued its first national championship in Tampa, Fla., Gowan and Wajda used several free social media tools and integrated them into a special website created for the tournament. While the news headlines, videos and photo galleries automatically appeared on the homepage (via an RSS feed), the updates were done completely through social media sites.

Throughout the tournament, staffers, including Casey and photographer Matt Milless, were continuously sending updates to Tumblr, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

The judges commented:

Good use of social media for nimble and quick response to a specific event. Positive outcome in ongoing life of Tumblr site…Very good product for the limited time frame.

Union will receive the awards at the CASE conference in Pittsburgh March 3-5.

CASE is the leading professional association for educational advancement professionals, including those who work in alumni relations, communications, marketing and fundraising.