UND Today

University of North Dakota’s Official News Source

UND Marketing & Communications wins six district awards

CASE awards recognize best practices in educational advancement, which includes fundraising, marketing and alumni relations

This photo and caption originally were published by UND Today in November 2022: Ashley Bayne, assistant director of UND’s Public Health Program, says there was no question about what she needed to do when UND got the call for help from the North Dakota Department of Health nearly three years ago. She quickly assembled a team of students and other community health professionals that grew to 180 caseworkers who eventually reached out to nearly 50,000 people statewide for either COVID-19 case investigations or close contacts. Their one-on-one conversations not only gave people answers and peace of mind, but their work also was credited with significantly slowing the spread of the disease statewide. Photo by Janelle Vonasek/UND Today.

The worldwide Council for Advancement and Support of Education — better known by its acronym CASE — has announced that the UND Division of Marketing & Communications has earned a place in the winner’s circle.

Make that six places, as the division received six Best of District VI Awards. (CASE’s District VI includes member institutions in the Mid-America states of Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming.)

“It is wonderful to see the amazing work of the Division of Marketing & Communications be recognized by our peers in the Midwest region,” said Meloney Linder, vice president for Marketing & Communications. “The team works so hard to make #UNDproud.”

The awards include:

>> Wake Up to UND 2022: “The Morning Show,” a winner for Ceremonies & University Events. Anyone who ever has attended Wake Up to UND knows it’s a spectacular event, but now its audience has grown to include the global reach of CASE.

Wake Up to UND is an annual breakfast event that takes place on the campus of the University of North Dakota, as the contest entry notes. The event is a partnership between The Chamber of Grand Forks and East Grand Forks and the University of North Dakota that showcases UND to the Greater Grand Forks business community. It’s an experiential branding opportunity for our University and continues to showcase partnerships between the community and campus.

The 2022 event used a morning news show format. UND President Andrew Armacost and Student Body President Faith Wahl anchored the event, while the show featured segments on UND’s Strategic Plan, the new Nistler College of Business & Public Administration, and a cooperative partnership agreement between UND and Grand Forks Air Force Base, as well as the competitive world of drone racing.

>> UND Today Special Projects Editor Janelle Vonasek earned two writing awards for her stories, “On the front lines of the pandemic” and “Space Grant educators fuel love for science.”

Before joining the Marketing & Communications Division in 2018, the UND graduate was a longtime design editor and writer at the Grand Forks Herald. At the Herald, she was part of the team that won a Pulitzer Prize for its efforts to help hold the community together in the wake of the 1997 flood and fire — a catastrophe that devastated, among many other structures in the Grand Cities, the newspaper plant itself.

“Hearing Ashley Bayne (now assistant director of UND’s Public Health Program) talk about the pandemic and all of its punishing chaos really brought me back,” Vonasek said. “It was that same punch in the gut and feeling of total helplessness. And I had no idea so many selfless actions were taking place behind the scenes at UND. So, of course, I jumped at the chance to tell that heroic story.”

Vonasek’s story highlighted how UND knows how to lead with impact even in the face of seemingly insurmountable adversity. As the story noted, “This team not only tracked COVID cases at 11 different institutions in the North Dakota University System but also worked around the clock to provide a critical lifeline of one-on-one support to nearly 50,000 worried individuals statewide. Then the team completed tens of thousands of COVID-19 case investigations and notified more than 10,000 close contacts of their possible brush with the COVID virus.

“This Herculean effort at UND was credited with saving countless lives throughout North Dakota and beyond,” the story continued. Said Ashley Bayne, “The experience showed students the power of public health policy. They saw how they can be a part of that process and how changes in that policy can impact an entire community, state and nation.”

Image for What's Your Why?
UND Social Media

Leading in lights, cameras and action

>> What’s Your Why?: Senior University Photographer Shawna Schill was recognized for her unique approach to a portrait series. The contest entry explained it this way: “We asked five current UND students this question, then created a social media campaign featuring photos, quotes and a video around their answers. We ran this campaign the week leading up to Welcome Weekend, the official start of the fall 2022 semester. We wanted to create excitement about why students were coming to UND.”

>> UND Memorial Union Virtual Tour: Senior Video Producer Matt Schill of Marketing & Creative Services won in the category of “Videos: Student Audience (Long).”

“With the opening of the new Memorial Union at UND, we wanted a way to give prospective students and other viewers a brief tour of the space, while highlighting several student services and spaces offered in the building,” the contest entry for the video reads.

See it for yourself. It’s a grand space and a grand tour!

Continuous improvement in marketing

>> University of North Dakota: Paid Social Media Ad Refresh: UND’s Web & Multimedia Marketing team was recognized for an ad refresh campaign that far outperformed the industry average in click-through rates, indicating a higher level of engagement with the ads, which translates to a greater likelihood of attracting prospective students.

The contest entry reads in part: “The University of North Dakota has been in the digital marketing space since 2017. We operate in the spirit of continuous improvement and have strong year-over-year performance overall. It’s hard to know where to improve. When we consulted third-party resources and researched competitors, we learned we needed to produce new ads more frequently with immediate brand recognition. With that knowledge, we overhauled our recruitment-focused graduate and transfer Facebook and Instagram ad campaigns.

“A key component of our plan was to develop a list of authentic messaging ideas for ad images/videos, headings and copy. This included text, but also the tone to be conveyed to our distinct target personas. We created mockup ads as inspiration and collaborated with our creative colleagues to bring our vision to life. The final product was not only effective in terms of performance, but it also was visually appealing and representative of the University’s brand.”