Educational institutes are quickly recognising the need to communicate with students digitally in order to increase both engagement and understanding of key messages and events. The University of Sussex was the first of the new wave of UK universities founded in the 1960s. With this year’s Freshers Week fast approaching, the University of Sussex Students’ Union recognised that the use of a mobile app to coordinate and publicise its Freshers Week events timetable would not only meet with students’ expectations of how they like to receive information, but would also increase the level of interaction prior to the start of term. As such, it sought the help of international mobile app provider Guidebook to build and create the app.
During Freshers Week, the Students’ Union are expecting to welcome around 5,000 new students to their campus, as well as returning students. The main purpose of the event app will be to keep these students informed of induction events being held throughout the week, as well as using it as a mechanism for students to familiarise themselves with both the local area and the students’ union itself. The students’ union will also use Guidebook as a platform for local sponsors and advertisers to engage with students.
Jo Walters, Digital Engagement Manager at the University of Sussex Students’ Union, said: “There were a huge number of reasons why going down the mobile app route was so important to us. Specifically, in terms of Freshers Week, one of the main challenges that we’ve previously faced is being unable to update event information such as last minute acts or venue changes once the printing deadline has passed, so it’ll be extremely beneficial to be able to update the information as needed.
“In addition, the environmental consideration is definitely a big factor for us, in terms of not having to use paper, however the most significant aspect is the engagement that Guidebook will allow us to have with the students. We looked at a range of mobile apps, but few of them offered the range of customisable features that Guidebook does, which is really valuable in terms of achieving this strategic objective.”