Engaging parents and families: they’re an audience, too!

In higher education, we know it takes a village to raise a [insert your institution’s mascot here]! It involves a close partnership with parents and families to successfully guide students from orientation to graduation, and encourage their development as engaged and enlightened citizens. Parents and families have become increasingly involved in the lives of their college-going students, looking for information about university services and support programs. However, it is challenging for the unversed to navigate the higher education system, including deciphering jargon such as “bursar” or “registrar,” and finding information spread out across various departmental offices and websites. That’s where the campus communicators come in! Our role is to create ways for each family to connect with the institution along various points in the student’s journey.

In this session, we’ll cover what strategies Stony Brook University’s Student Affairs implemented to decrease the information gap with parents and families, and how we set up various communication channels to help parents and families stay informed and connected with the university. This includes a dedicated, comprehensive parents and families website, a family e-newsletter and a social media group, utilizing mostly repurposed content, carefully curated through the parent/family lens and provided in ways that are relatable to the layperson. We will talk about our journey and share what worked, what didn’t and what we’ve learned throughout this process, providing best practices as you consider developing your own parent/family communications plan.


Sonia Garrido — Stony Brook University

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