Xavier hosts “March Gladness” drive

By: Tatum Hunter ~Staff Writer~

Last week, Xavier called upon students, faculty and alumni to show their school pride by giving back to the university.

The 48-hour March Gladness social media giving campaign was the first of its kind at Xavier and raised $31,063 in total donations.

The initiative was aimed at anyone who might consider himself or herself part of the “Xavier community,” including current students, prospective students, parents, faculty, staff and alumni. Participants were asked to use the hashtag “#GladXavier” to share via social media what Xavier means to them.

In all, 587 people donated to the university, 169 of which were students. Ninety of the donations were made over text.

Last Monday, the hashtag “#GladXavier” was the top trending hashtag in the Cincinnati area, appearing 754 times.

In past years, Xavier has held a pig roast on “Tuition Runs Out Day,” or the day after which all tuition and fees are covered by donations, in an effort to bring in charitable contributions. According to Leigh Ann Fibbe, director for the Annual Fund and 1831 Society at the Alumni Center, it was time to try something new.

“I don’t think it (Tuition Runs Out Day) resonated particularly with our students,” Fibbe said.

Xavier has also traditionally used phoneathons to raise money. However, as more communication moves online, fewer people actually pick up their phones. The need for a new strategy became apparent, and the staff at the Alumni Center had a solution: a social media blitz.

The campaign was similar to social media drives used by other universities but differed in its more extensive involvement of students and faculty.

“Our alums love any sort of interaction with students. That is what they want more than anything,” Fibbe said.

During the 48-hour fundraiser,

The 10-year-old MyXU Portal will be replaced this May by the new and more accessible Student and Employee Hubs.

The Hubs, which are currently available to students and faculty, provide a more mobile-friendly format and place the most-used links directly on the homepage.

“As we did an audit of all the content within the Portal… there were over 700 links there, which almost by definition makes it unusable” Director of Web and Media Kevin Lavelle said. “The Portal also is not mobile-friendly. As more and more of our users are accessing their Xavier information on their tablets and their phones, we wanted to move into a framework that (adapts to this).”

In addition, the new Hubs do not require a login for most features and are presented as websites with the same format as most of Xavier’s other pages. With over 80 percent of the current links within the Portal leading to public websites, Lavelle views the initial login as unnecessary.

Web designers are also adding subtle changes to the interface, allowing them to monitor the popularity of certain links and to modify the website accordingly.

“One of the things that we’re really excited about is that we will have really strong analytics in this format, so we’ll have a much better sense of what people are and are not clicking on,” Lavelle said. “We can evaluate that from time to time, sit down with the appropriate user group, and (evaluate which links are being used the most).”

Work on the replacement began last summer and was released for public use earlier this year.

Both the Portal and the Hubs will remain accessible until the Portal’s termination at the end of this semester.

This year, faculty and staff have been evaulating the Xavier Portal, along with Blackboard, the learning system website currently used by Xavier, for its effectiveness. Blackboard has been phased out over the last several months in favor of Canvas, a new online learning management program.

The current Hubs are public and can be accessed by anyone. The Student Hub is located at xavier.edu/students and the Employee Hub is located at xavier.edu/employees.

University to discontinue Portal for new web Hubsfaculty, staff and students volunteered to be “March Gladness Advocates,” manning stations in Gallagher Student Center, Fenwick Place and O’Connor Sports Center.

Both Fibbe and President, Fr. Michael Graham, S.J. confirmed that the funds raised will have no impact on tuition for the 2014-15 school year. The funds will, however, affect the amount of scholarship money the university is able to offer.

According to Fibbe, the campaign was a success.

“It was way more successful than we’d hoped. We totally plan on doing this again next year, in an even bigger way.”

“These 48 hours reminded me how much I love working here,” Fibbe said. “I’m glad that Xavier has welcomed me into part of its community. I’m not an alum, and I love this place. I’m so glad that I can call this my job.”

Graham also chimed in on why he is “#GladXavier:” “What I’m glad Xavier has done for me is…given me my life,” Graham said.