Anna Bowers · January 18, 2018
Southern Virginia University has nearly doubled the size of its student body in the last four years. With this record growth comes an ever-increasing need for effective university communication strategies to keep students safe, informed, and involved.
The new Knight App, available for download this week, is designed to help to meet that need.
Powered by a student engagement platform called Involvio, the Knight App provides easy access to campus resources and events, student messaging, and more — all in one place and updated in real time.
Involvio has created similar apps tailored to fit the specific needs of colleges across the country, including Yale, UC Santa Barbara, UMass and Dartmouth.
The Knight App works seamlessly with the Southern Virginia LaunchPad initiative, which provides an Apple iPad Pro to every student and virtually every faculty and staff member on campus.
“One of the first things I knew that needed to be done at the school this year was [creating] more effective internal communication on campus” stated Student Body President Quinn Skouson. “This one app I think has the capabilities of solving 90% of the issues, which is just simply [providing] one location where you can know everything that is going on campus.”
The app will display every event that is happening on campus. Students and other users will be automatically subscribed to notifications for important, top-level events, and can choose to opt in to events curated by any number of groups across campus. This means that, while there is no opting out of emergency notifications sent by Southern Virginia leadership, students can choose which clubs, courses and other groups send them notifications.
Notifications from events students subscribe to within the Knight App are displayed on the agenda page. The agenda will also pull class schedule data for students from MySVU, and will interact with Google calendar to provide a comprehensive overview of the contents of a user’s day, week or month.
Simplifying the need to use multiple platforms, the Knight App also has a communications page that allows students to post messages to their contacts or publicly. Through this, students can announce study groups, impromptu movie parties, ask questions about textbooks and so on, creating better campus connection.
Capable of more than just informing about events, the Knight App also provides event planners with data and analytics. In addition, it also provides the means for students to give feedback to help planners actively improve the events offered across campus. A QR Code scanner on the app lets students ‘check-in’ to an event, effectively taking attendance. Friends can be notified when someone arrives, and planners can even distribute short surveys just to those whose attendance was recorded.
Other capabilities of the app include a marketplace where users can buy or sell anything from textbooks to unwanted clothes. It also has a lost and found function, and a resources board. The resources board contains everything else students need: contacts, student handbook, dining menu, school newspaper, tickets, RSVP to events, laundry timer, school social media and campus security. Kelli Woodard, administrator of the Knight App, continues to add new features every day and expects the app to be “running full force by early next week.”
Woodard explained that “Just because something is not available on the app at this moment, does not mean it won’t be in the near future. If students have any feedback on anything they would like to see on this app, please let me know and I will do my best to make it available through the app.”
“The great thing about this app is that it is largely student driven,” Woodard continued. “Students are so important in making this school run — they are the whole reason we do anything. And so, we wanted an app that would engage the students and allow them to be involved in the communication and coordination side of things.”
Feature image courtesy of Involvio