Chattahoochee Technical College Reduced the Cost of Co-Curricular Programming Per Event Participant by 87%

How a public technical college gamifies and strengthens co-curricular engagement using Modern Campus Presence

About Chattahoochee Technical College

 

 

8

campuses throughout North Georgia

 

14,000

students

 

33%

students over age 25

in this case study: Megan Youngblood Whitworth - Coordinator of Student Involvement

Presence is so easy to use. The day we got to say goodbye to the Spreadsheet of Doom—the enormous document we used to track everything by hand—was probably the best day of my life. The first time we had an event with Presence, I didn't have to enter anything into a spreadsheet; it just existed in Presence. Honestly, I may or may not have cried. It’s saved us so much time and stress.

Megan Youngblood Whitworth

The Top Challenges

The Student Involvement team at Chattahoochee Technical College (AKA Chatt Tech) has long understood the power of co-curricular engagement for building student affinity, supporting classroom learning and, ultimately, boosting retention and revenue. 

But cumbersome processes and institutional barriers prevented Student Involvement from fully living out its mission and vision.

Students didn’t understand the value of engagement.

By and large, Chatt Tech students didn’t see the appeal of campus events, as engagement at the fully commuter institution wasn’t fully integrated into its culture. Youngblood Whitworth says one of Chatt Tech’s campuses even became known as the “No Thank You” Campus—based on the way students would often respond to event invites, assuming there had to be a catch. 

Furthermore, Student Involvement wasn’t a recognizable brand—neither as a broad term for co-curricular engagement nor as an office supporting student success.

We got asked all the time, ‘what is campus life?’ Students often said they never heard of the department or they didn’t have a good understanding of it. They’d think it was residential life but no, we don’t have any residential housing.

Megan Youngblood Whitworth
Events were costly and over-consumed staff resources.

Lack of student awareness meant that staff had to spend an inordinate amount of time marketing each event. Then, during an event, staff couldn’t truly engage with participants; checking students in by paper took up too much time and focus to get right. 

As a result, Student Involvement had to limit the number of programs it offered.

Lack of faculty and staff partnerships weakened co-curricular learning.

Because buy-in from staff and faculty across campus was so hard to come by, programs rarely met key learning outcomes.

There was really a lack of faculty and staff partnerships and, subsequently, limited co-curricular engagement. A lot of events were just standalone, lackluster drop-in events that didn't really partner with any faculty and staff that may want to help us get students there.

Megan Youngblood Whitworth
Unwieldy paper processes made gamification a headache. 

In an effort to engage more students and solve the above challenges, Student Involvement adapted a gamification model, offering students points and prizes for event attendance. 

Yet, gamification created another enormous challenge: The Spreadsheet of Doom, the team’s nickname for the cumbersome system they used to track thousands of students. 

Youngblood Whitworth spent up to 20 hours a week trying to manage the enormous spreadsheet. It got so arduous that Student Involvement considered hiring a part-time employee who’d be solely devoted to the Spreadsheet of Doom. 

Students were having to sign in on paper forms. We were having to take all those paper forms and check all of their student ID numbers manually and put them into the spreadsheet, filter out the duplicate data and then make sure that their points were updated properly. It was impossible.

Megan Youngblood Whitworth

The Solution & Results

Resources saved + engagement boosted per semester, by the numbers:
 

 

3x

the number of events

 

2x

the number of students who attended at least one event

 

78%

reduction in costs per event

37%

reduction in total events cost

60%

reduction in giveaway costs

With gamification powered by Modern Campus Presence:

Chatt Tech employed automated engagement tracking to easily and accurately reward students points (which they called Eagle Bucks), redeemable for prizes.

Goodbye Spreadsheet of Doom! Hello, ease.

By keenly leveraging Presence’s fully customizable Points feature, Student Involvement now keeps track of thousands of students’ event attendance. Students love being able to track their own progress, and staff are thrilled to have branded swag promote the institution. 

Everywhere you look, students have a Chatt Tech cup, or they’re using our pen, or they have our T-shirt on, or they have a drink in one of our cozies, or they have a school bag. Chatt Tech merchandise is everywhere you look. It’s wonderful. Thousands of our students are wearing Chatt Tech stuff out in the community, outside of school.

Megan Youngblood Whitworth
Gamification has gotten students excited to attend events and has changed the culture of engagement across all 8 campuses.

Student Involvement now has recognizable value, prompting more students to engage and leading to increased partnerships with faculty and staff, which, in turn, boosts co-curricular learning and measurable outcomes that support retention.

Chatt Tech simplified event marketing by showcasing all co-curricular opportunities on Eagle Link, the college’s one-stop student portal powered by Presence.

Students now know exactly where to find relevant campus opportunities. Plus, staff spend less time marketing and more time planning exceptional programs. 

Modern Campus Presence has been a game-changer for student organizations too.

Our student orgs have been asking for years to have their own website pages, which we just didn’t have room for on our main site and wouldn’t be manageable for our marketing department. So Presence is huge for that too. Students love that they can control the content of their org pages and get their peers to join and hear about events.

Megan Youngblood Whitworth

With Presence’s card-swipe technology, Student Involvement has dramatically reduced the time needed to check students into events. 

Long entry lines are a thing of the past; students simply use their student IDs to check in via any mobile device and staff instantly gain access to real-time data analytics. Plus, Eagle Bucks are automatically rewarded with each swipe, which students can see via the student portal.

Letting students see their own points and review their own attendance history—that’s huge for incentivizing them to come back.

Megan Youngblood Whitworth
Presence saved Chatt Tech time and money while boosting engagement.

Previously, staff had no reliable way of aligning prize orders with students’ interests. Student Involvement purchased hundreds of prizes per event, and many went unclaimed as students didn’t show up or weren’t interested in the prize offerings.

But Presence has solved that, too—through three complementary features:

  • Points tracking that allows students to see their up-to-the-minute total, right in their student portal
  • A catalog of available prizes and the points needed to redeem them, also in the student portal
  • Digital forms powered by Presence drag-and-drop technology

So now, students fill out a quick form requesting the prizes they want, when they want them. Students get power over their own rewards and staff no longer have to do expensive guesswork.

Presence was an investment but it's so worth it. It has ended up saving us money. Eagle bucks saved the day.

Megan Youngblood Whitworth

Chattahoochee Technical College's Favorite Features

Customizable Points 

Engagement Tracking

Campus Branded App & Portal

Incentive engagement by designing a custom reward program that’s unique to your students’ interests and needs. Never use pen and paper to sign students into an event again. Our card-swipe technology speeds up check-in and maximizes data collection.

Simplify how students find involvement opportunities and empower student leaders to easily promote their own organizations and events.

Learn more Learn more

Learn more

 

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Modern Campus is obsessed with empowering its 1,200+ higher education customers to thrive when radical transformation is required to respond to lower student enrollments and revenue, rising costs, crushing student debt and even school closures.

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