“It’s a Match” Campaign Inspires Students to Create a Via Profile
The Texas A&M University Education Abroad Office is always looking for creative ways to get more students interested in going abroad. That includes sharing ideas during brainstorming sessions, no matter how “silly” they may initially sound.
That’s what happened when the office landed on its newest campaign: “Find Your Perfect Match.” Having recently switched to Via from another software provider, Texas A&M wanted to get the word out, particularly about Via’s program matching and advising quiz. By creating a profile in Via, students can get matched with countries of interest and share time of travel, participation barriers and goals, and other such information.
“I don’t know if we were just being silly or we were tired, but this idea about a dating profile type of campaign came up and we were like, ‘Why not? That’s brilliant!’” says Martin Rosales, Program Manager for Global Engagement.
The office rolled out the “Find Your Perfect Match” campaign in August when students were returning to campus for the 2022 Fall Semester. In addition to setting up tables to share information about the campaign and study abroad opportunities, they also put up “It’s a Match” across the campus in College Station, Texas. Students scan a QR code to be directed to the TAMU Abroad website to set up a profile in Via.
While they don’t have hard data yet to show how successful the campaign has been, they have seen an uptick in student profiles being created, says Caleb Chapman, Assistant Director of Global Initiatives and Special Projects for Global Engagement.
“We can see that it’s making a difference,” Caleb says.
Texas A&M Bounces Ideas Off Student Workers
Caleb and Martin say they knew they were on the right track with the “Find Your Perfect Match” campaign because student workers in their office were enthusiastic about it.
“We know students get bombarded with information, from emails to social posts to signs on campus,” Caleb says. “The challenge is to figure out how to stand apart from the rest of the noise. I think every institution struggles with that.”
That’s why they’re happy to have their colleagues in the International Education community bring the “Find Your Perfect Match” campaign to their campuses as well.
“If you think it’s something that would work on your campus, go for it,” Martin says. “Whatever is going to get the attention of your students.”
Students to Meet Via at World Fair
Texas A&M students will also have an opportunity to find their perfect program match during the university’s Education Abroad World Fair on September 21st. During the fair, which will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., students can talk with abroad program leaders and providers—and even meet members of the Via team! They can also talk with students who have been abroad, take in international student group performances and receive giveaways.
Another successful idea for Texas A&M was the “Abroad for All” stickers the office created and put across campus to get LGBTQ+ students, students with disabilities, first generation students and racially and ethnically diverse students to consider going abroad. The stickers proved to be extremely popular, they say.
And while they have a good feeling that “Find Your Perfect Match” will be a successful campaign, they’ll continue to come up with other ideas to get students engaged in global experiences.
Martin says Via’s matching program was the main reason Texas A&M switched from their previous software provider to Via. Providing students with the ability to self-identify and easily get matched with their best-fit programs “gives the power back to students to be able to be pioneers of their experience,” Martin says.
“Our previous provider didn’t have that,” Martin notes. “We had to push students into the system to apply to a program before we could even interact with them. We’re excited to see where Via goes in the future in terms of incorporating even more identities.”
“Take a Chance”
Martin encourages the IE community to “take a chance” when coming up with and implementing ideas to engage students.
“If we weren’t being goofy in that brainstorming meeting, this would never have happened,” he says of the campaign. “Clearly it has to have some basis in reality—like we’re not having Cirque du Soleil performers come in and do interpretive dance about finding a match.
“Get your student workers involved,” he adds. “If their reaction is, ‘That’s so funny! That’s a great idea!’ then maybe your idea isn’t totally crazy so run with it.”
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