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Andy’s Answers: How DeVry University created a community led by its inspiring students and alumni

DeVry University has been around since the 1930s, and though it has more than 80,000 undergraduate students across 90 campuses, it faced an awareness problem. People weren’t familiar with the school or its academic programs.

To turn this around, in coordination with its 80th birthday, DeVry set out to establish a sustainable word-of-mouth movement to celebrate its success. The university wanted to instill pride among its students and alumni — but that’s challenging when you don’t have a mascot or a sports program.

To make it happen, DeVry’s social media team established the DriVen Class community to inspire students to realize their potential and to encourage one another. At our recent BlogWell conference, Justin Gillmar, Laura Dagys and Chase Fritchle walked us through how they did it.

A few of their key ideas:

  • Find ambassadors to help you lead the movement. DeVry scoured its campuses to find ambassadors who were personable, proactive and passionate about telling DeVry’s story. Ambassadors had to believe in the cause of DeVry, as they were tasked with elevating the conversation and inspiring others.
  • Help your core ambassadors form a bond. When DeVry chose its 12 ambassadors, from a pool of more than 300, the university brought them all together. During this time, they were not only trained in social media but also developed strong personal bonds that helped them lead the community together.
  • Help the community live offline, too. Part of the ambassadors’ role included creating one-to-one connections with community members and sharing the spirit of the online community offline by participating in school groups and campus events.

Watch the case study.