The digital team in Public Affairs and Marketing has been hard at work over the past six months to improve several digital resources for our campus community and prospective students. Here’s an update on some of the improvements we’ve made and projects we continue to make progress on:
Dynamic Labels on maps.hope.edu — If you’re an active maps.hope.edu user, you may have noticed new labels on our campus map locations. These new labels pull data directly from Open Street Maps, giving our team increased flexibility to add, remove and edit location labels. As you zoom in and out of our map, you’ll notice that labels appear and disappear depending on your zoom setting. In addition, we now have the ability to add labels to offices and services located inside buildings across campus, providing greater accessibility for our campus community.
Virtual Tours and 360 Photography — We recently updated the campus virtual tour with updated 360° photographs. We also added 360° photographs to most of our residential hall directory pages giving prospective students the opportunity to virtually tour a res hall room. See the Dykstra example. In addition, we’re wrapping up creating fully immersive tours of several spaces on campus (a near VR experience). These spaces include the new Alumni/Boerigter Center/CFL space in the lower level of DeWitt, the Heeringa Athletic Facility, the Bultman Student Center, and Haworth Hotel. Watch for those tours to become available on our website later this fall.
User Personalization — We are now piloting the delivery of personalized content on our website, thanks to a new tool offered by our CMS provider, Modern Campus. The new feature allows us to display variable web content based on a visitor’s geo-location, the previous page they visited, and the number of times they have visited the site. To start, the Admissions staff web page now displays Admissions reps based on the state a user is visiting from when there is a specific rep assigned to that state. For example, website visitors in Colorado will see Carrie Olesh appear at the top of the staff page because she is our rep assigned to Colorado. We are excited to see how this new feature enhances a visitor’s experience with our website and how it aids our Admissions team’s engagement with prospective students.
Move to Google Analytics 4 (GA4) — The move from Universal Analytics to GA4 was a required move by Google for all of its analytics users worldwide to change the way we collect data on our website. While this behind-the-scenes update does not affect most of our website users or managers, the mandatory change was a big undertaking that required our team to engage with third-party analytics experts in order to meet the July 1, 2023 deadline. According to Google, the new GA4 environment will allow us to be more focused on user engagement, and provide greater privacy controls and cookieless measurement. We are still learning to navigate this new data-collecting process, so your grace is appreciated as we navigate the new GA4 environment.
PAM Website — The Public Affairs and Marketing website received a facelift this summer that we hope will enhance your service experience with our department. The new site was built with our campus partners in mind to provide easier and more intuitive access for service and project requests. Check out our new event promotion checklist to guide the marketing of your next event or use our project request form to work with us on an upcoming project.
Twitter X — Over the Summer, Twitter rebranded itself as “X.” While the domain is still Twitter.com, our team recently updated our social media directory and all visual referrals to Twitter.com with the new X logo.
TikTok — As social media continues to evolve, so too does our strategy to engage current and prospective students. Over the past year, we’ve seen a sizeable drop in engagement on some of the older platforms like Twitter, with increased popularity for video-forward platforms TikTok and Instagram. Check us out on TikTok.
We went viral! Speaking of TikTok, our video “Dads on Move-in Day” went viral in September with nearly 2 million views!
Looking for help with your digital marketing? Please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Weather-induced cancelations aren’t quite as scarce for Hope as hen’s teeth, but they do have “once in a blue moon” beat. The two partial-day closures this past Wednesday and Thursday, Feb. 22-23, 2023, were the first in more than four years. Since January 1978 (as best recorded), Hope has canceled classes only 11 full days and 7 partial days. Here’s how some of those events played out.
January 26-27, 1978
The great blizzard of ’78, which continues to live in infamy throughout the region for its severity and duration, prompted the college to cancel classes for two full days on Thursday and Friday, Jan. 26-27.
The Anchor of Feb. 3, 1978, reported it this way: “The storms began on Wednesday evening and by the time the heavy winds and snow abated it had dumped over 30 inches on us with drifts up to eight feet. With the entire state of Michigan as well as Ohio and Indiana immobilized, Hope College was forced to shut down. This was only the third time in over 50 years.”
Jan. 28, 1994
A harsh ice storm in January led Hope to cancel classes for the first time in 16 years nearly to the day. With Holland’s roads and the college’s sidewalks coated with ice, Hope canceled classes on Friday, Jan. 28.
In addition to stopping classes, the storm also prompted some creative contingency planning. The Hope and Adrian swim teams overcame the hazards of travel by changing their scheduled Jan. 28 Dow Center meet into a “phone meet.”
Each team swam at its home pool and compared its times by telephone. The experience was a first for Hope, which had never previously competed in an athletic event by telephone.
Both Hope teams won: the men, 75-72; the women, 84-49.
Thursday-Friday, Jan. 16-17, 1997
A January blizzard’s worst prompted Hope to cancel classes for a day and a half.
The storm started out bad enough on Thursday, Jan. 16, that although the college stayed open, it cautioned those who weren’t within walking distance of campus to stay home. By mid-morning, though, conditions were worse and expected to stay that way. The college canceled all classes after 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, and kept them that way through the end of Friday, Jan. 17.
Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2011
The “snowpocalypse” of February 1-2 shut down much of the nation, including Hope, with the worst blizzard in more than three decades prompting a rare cancelation for the college. The 12-plus inches of snow that fell in about as many hours didn’t break spirits, however, and even provided occasion for some singular entertainment as students developed sledding runs in the temporary hills that sprouted, made a snow angel or two, and — Feb. 2 was, after all, Groundhog Day — built a snow cave here and there.
Monday-Wednesday, Jan. 6-8, 2014
A brutal January storm prompted Hope to cancel classes for two days, earning extra distinction for even delaying the start of the spring semester. Afflicting much of the nation between Saturday, Jan. 4, and Tuesday, Jan. 7, the system pummeled the Midwest with a triad of heavy snowfall, arctic air, and strong winds that limited visibility and delivered extreme wind chills. Mindful of the safety of students as they returned to campus, Hope postponed the start of classes from Tuesday, Jan. 7, until Thursday, Jan. 9. Except to serve those who had already started arriving, college offices were also closed on Monday and Tuesday, Jan. 6-7.
Friday-Saturday, Jan. 24-25, 2014
Because of a major storm on Friday, Jan. 24, the college closed offices and canceled classes and all remaining campus activities beginning at noon. Hope also canceled most activities the next day, Saturday, Jan. 25, including the annual Winter Happening program, arts events and athletic contests.
Thursday-Friday, Jan. 8-9, 2015
Because of a winter storm on Thursday, Jan. 8, the college closed offices at 3 p.m. and canceled classes and all remaining campus activities beginning at 4 p.m. In addition, Hope offices remained closed and classes and activities were canceled the next day, Friday, Jan. 9.
Monday-Wednesday, Jan. 28-30, 2019
Because of a major storm on Monday, Jan. 28, the college closed offices and canceled classes and activities for the day. Hope re-opened at the start of Tuesday, Jan. 29, but with the storm continuing (with record-low temperatures courtesy of a “polar vortex”) Hope again closed on Tuesday, Jan. 29, at 3 p.m. and remained closed until Thursday, Jan. 31, at 11 a.m.
As it happened, the storm even had an impact after it ended. The annual Musical Showcase concert, which was originally scheduled for the evening of Friday, Feb. 1, was postponed to Wednesday, March 13, because of the preparation time lost earlier in the week.
Wednesday-Thursday, Feb. 22-23, 2023
Because of the ice storm predicted to begin at 10 a.m. (which it did) on Wednesday, Feb. 22, Hope announced early in the morning that classes would be canceled and administrative offices closed starting at noon. With the conditions still being difficult on the morning of Thursday, Feb. 23, the college delayed opening administrative offices until 11 a.m. and delayed classes until noon.
A friendly reminder to Hope bloggers that you should never simply download an image from a web search and use it in your blog, on your social media platforms, or on the college website. Most images are copyrighted and require licensing to be used on Hope’s digital platforms — and we can get in legal trouble if we use an image without permission. Besides, following copyright law is just the right thing to do.
Instead, use one of the following types of images:
Your Own Images
You’re welcome to take your own photos! Smartphones and digital cameras are more than capable of capturing high-quality photos for most online purposes.
You can also use photos taken by your friends, colleagues, or students — so long as you have their permission to use it (simple verbal approval is fine in these cases).
Images Hope College Owns
Photos taken by our professional photographers are stored in WebDAM, our digital asset management service. Simply log into the service at assets.hope.edu with your 1hope login, and our photo manager will assign you the proper permissions to download the images you need.
Do you need photos that we just don’t have? Contact Public Affairs & Marketing to request a photo shoot. While we can’t take photos for every need, we’re happy to talk through the options.
Images We Have Permission to Use
Several services offer free-to-use, public domain images. My personal favorite is unsplash.com, where I found the image at the top of this post. You can also look on Wikimedia Commons (but be careful: not everything on Wikimedia is public domain!)
You can also look for images with a Creative Commons license — but be sure you know the specific license requirements for individual photos. Some require you to use an attribution; some can be modified and others can’t. For these, I usually start at flickr.com. And, Wikimedia may have some Creative Commons images.
You can also pay to license photos from stock photography sites like shutterstock.com.
In some cases, you may be able to use images that fall under Fair Use, which allows you to use copyrighted images without prior permission. Some examples of these might include the cover of a book being discussed or reviewed; the movie poster of a film being shown on campus; or the professional headshot of an academic from another university or an author from her publicist’s website. (But using a copyrighted image — say, an Associated Press photograph of President Obama at a press conference — is not considered Fair Use.)
Just be aware that Fair Use is a fairly tricky thing — and this blog post certainly shouldn’t be considered legal advice. If you have questions about Fair Use, the best place to go is Hope’s Library. Use their Fair Use Checklist or simply contact them with questions.
Another Summer has slipped by but not without several exciting new projects for the web team in Public Affairs and Marketing.
Whether it was enhancing our online calendar, embracing Gen Z’s use of Instagram and TikTok, or implementing an entirely new academic catalog, Summer was packed with fun and meaningful work to improve the digital experience at Hope.
Highlights from our Summer in the web team suite
New team member: We welcomed our new colleague Shelbey (Snider) Phillips ’17 back to Hope as the college’s new social media manager.
Academic catalog: We partnered with the Registrar’s office to successfully implement an entirely new academic catalog. Tip of the hat to the Registrar’s office for their extra effort in making it possible to launch before the fall semester.
Calendar: The campus calendar has a new look and feel that better aligns with hope.edu.
Maps: Several updates to our campus map have been made or are in production including parking lot changes, a new sustainability category, and the addition of new cottages (coming soon!)
Spera magazine: The sunsetting of Spera as an independent magazine required rethinking the custom elements of both the Spera and News from Hope College websites. You will now find Spera content inside News from Hope College in print and online.
Athletics.hope.edu: Have you checked out the new Athletics website? Shout-out to Alan Babbitt, Craig Tommola, Mackenzie McMahon, Lindsey Engelsman and Julie Huisingh for their detailed work implementing an outstanding website.
Social media: We’ve focused our summer content on welcoming the largest class ever to Hope this fall using Instagram Reels and TikTok. Highlights included getting to know the Orientation Directors, exploring res halls, featuring on-campus job opportunities and helping #Hope2026 prepare for college.
YouTube Reboot: The Hope College YouTube channel is getting a makeover to better serve as a video hub for attracting prospective students, families, new employees and donors. Rest assured your videos will still be there but our playlists and channel homepage might look a little different after we reorganize our content.
Focus on First-Gen: We’re shining a spotlight on our inspiring first-gen community at Hope in a new video on Youtube and in the article Blazing Trails inside the summer issue of News from Hope College.
Career Wheel: A new custom interactive Career Wheel allows students to visually connect the 90+ majors, minors and programs offered at Hope to various professional paths based on the career activity of over 35,000 Hope College alumni worldwide.
Updated brand color palette: Hope’s brand colors are now dynamically accessible on hope.edu. Just click a color to copy its hex code.
Sometimes ideas come to fruition overnight. Sometimes they’re a few years in the making.
Once upon a time, a friend and colleague said to me (something along the lines of), “Wouldn’t national park-style posters of Hope College be so great?”
The idea rolled around in my head for more years than I care to admit. Until September 2021 when I thought there might be a way to move the concept forward without adding too many extra hours to a very busy in-house Creative Services team.
With a little research, I discovered a well-rated freelance graphic designer on Fiverr who specialized in this type of vintage poster design. Within just a few emails and several photos shared with the designer, I felt confident enough to give them a try for a few poster concepts. Together we worked our way through a few barriers in terms of time zones and language (Graves Hall became translated into “Graveyard Room” and Pine Grove became “Pine Land” somewhere along the way.). But in just a few weeks, I had beautiful, editable vector files that I felt were good to move to another stage here on Hope’s campus.
The next stage was letting our student graphic designers (Katie Shantz ’22, Parker Johnson ’22, Kaylee Siebert ’22) put their own spin on the vintage national park concepts! Our team of student designers is essential to the function of the Creative Services group for hundreds of projects every year. Sometimes their projects are more fun, but they are often tasked with simple event posters and mundane edits. This project allowed them to flex their creative muscles over several months. There were no barriers other than their own inspired minds!
And we couldn’t be more pleased with the results! After printing a few samples of the student designers’ finished designs here on Hope’s campus and hanging them up in the office, the feedback was overwhelmingly positive. “These are so cool!”
So we had them professionally printed and asked our friends in the Bookstore if they would be interested in selling them. Again, a resounding, “Yes!” A fun project with invaluable student employee involvement has gone to market!
Check out bookstore.hope.edu and tell us your favorite poster. For only $10 one can be yours!
(Stay tuned – we think there will be more limited edition vintage-style Hope College posters in the future!)
Research is a day at the beach as Hope scientists explore the ecology of Lake Michigan’s spectacular coastal sand dunes in the new Summer ’22 News from Hope College, now available online and en route to mailboxes near and far.
The issue’s cover story leads off Spera, a new section highlighting the breadth and depth of the groundbreaking faculty scholarship taking place campus wide (and regularly conducted collaboratively with students). Spera — from the college’s motto, Spera in Deo (“Hope in God”) — was a limited-run, stand-alone journal published annually from 2017 through 2021, but will now be a regular part of the thrice-a-year NfHC so that we can share the work more frequently and with the entire Hope family. It continues this time with kinesiology (“What Makes Athletes Tick?”) and economics (“Do High Rates of Homicide Slow Imports and Exports?”) along with geological and environmental science, with entirely different mixes of departments and topics planned for December and April — and more beyond.
Spera, of course, is just part of what you’ll find within! We wrap up 2021-22 with insights from the Baccalaureate and Commencement addresses, overviews of student and faculty awards, and a review of the historic multi-championship year in athletics. As the 2022-23 school year approaches, we look at the unique challenges faced by first-generation college students, and visit a new chapel developed especially with Hope’s Catholic community in mind. We focus on the arts with a celebration of Hope Summer Repertory Theatre’s first 50 years, and a preview of the new studio space that is on deck for Hope’s thriving Department of Dance. See, too, how a creative alumni couple is helping shape the future through a distinctive way of supporting Hope Forward, and enjoy a new collection of posters featuring beloved campus landmarks in the iconic style of national park posters of the 1930s and 1940s. (Stay tuned to this space in the days ahead for more about how those posters came to be, the creative role that students played and how to acquire prints through the Hope College Bookstore.)
At the end of August (and for the first time in approximately 30 years!) the Public Affairs and Marketing team is changing the way mass emails are distributed to employees at Hope College. The current “campusmail” system of pushing out numerous emails x multiple times per day will be replaced with a single daily newsletter. “Hope Daily” will include a day’s worth of concise announcements and news items in one easy-to-read message.
“Hope Daily” will contain familiar sections and themes to hopefully create a simple-to-navigate message. You will find campus events, announcements, family news, Human Resources features and an Academic and Campus Governance section.
Messages of an urgent nature will still be distributed as necessary and separately from “Hope Daily.” These could include Clery Act timely warnings, safety notices, unplanned technology outages, and unplanned changes to building access or services.
We believe that, though change is sometimes challenging, this upgrade will be very beneficial to our campus community. This allows us to sunset some outdated technology that our awesome partners at CIT have sustained for years. We hope this change will also allow us to somewhat mitigate the email fatigue that many of us experience. There may be days where there is no news to report. If so, we’ll skip “Hope Daily” that day and you’ll have one less message to review.
Our form for submitting an announcement or news item to “Hope Daily” is available linked under “Resources” on InHope.
Halloween is nearly here. Share your Hope College spirit with the neighborhood!
Choose your favorite template and use it to trace the design on your pumpkin. Once you carve your Hope pumpkin, post a picture and tag Hope College on social media for a chance to appear on our Instagram, Twitter or Facebook. Happy Halloween!