IU Southeast, Bloomington campuses send students on SCVNGR hunts
Sep. 12, 2012
To help new and prospective students feel more comfortable with their surroundings, two IU campuses -- IU Southeast and IU Bloomington -- are creating "virtual scavenger hunts" using SCVNGR, a free smartphone app.
Carol Branson, marketing specialist at IU Southeast, said use of smart phones will help engage students in the activity while learning about campus and programming. “SCVNGR will allow students to work together in small groups to learn more about the campus and the programs that we offer,” Branson said.
The Office of University Communications at IU Southeast is partnering with other departments, including the offices of Campus Life and Admissions, to send students on SCVNGR hunts.
IU Southeast's first SCVNGR trek, designed by IU Southeast senior Chris Cole, took place at the International World Fest in Louisville. Participants were given 10 challenges to help familiarize them with the area's top landmarks, including photo and trivia challenges and point-of-view questions.
“Everybody really loved it,” Cole said of the trek, which launched Aug. 31. “When they first opened the app, it was really easy for them to see how it worked. We set it up in two divisions, groups and individuals. The person or group who finished the fastest was able to get a prize.” Ten students participated in the World Fest trek, and the winners received $10 gift cards.
For Cole, a general studies major from Louisville, the goal of his trek was to show IU Southeast students -- primarily freshmen and sophomores -- about opportunities off campus. But he believes that SCVNGR is a good tool to introduce new and prospective students to IU Southeast. “This would be great a way to get them to see the campus and find their way around,” he said.
That’s exactly what IU Southeast’s next trek is aiming to do. The admissions SCVNGR hunt will allow prospective students to engage in a self-guided mini-tour of campus. Chris Crews, acting director of the IU Southeast Office of Admissions, said SCVNGR seems like a perfect fit for campus visitors.
“We want to help prospective students make a connection to IU Southeast from their first step on the grounds,” he said. “The SCVNGR treks make their visit more meaningful.”
The Admissions SCVNGR trek will be available later in the fall 2012 semester.
SCVNGR at IU Bloomington
The IU Bloomington SCVNGR project is a group effort with many different offices and groups across campus, said Cindy Miller, director of public relations and campus initiatives. Participating partners are the First Year Experience Programs, Recreational Sports and Residential Programs & Services.
"The Office of First Year Experience Programs has used SCVNGR treks to introduce students to campus and support their Welcome Week activities and events," Miller said. "It's a fun way to get students engaged while they learn their way around campus and around Bloomington."
Residential Programs & Services has used SCVNGR to provide resident assistants with team-building exercises or group activities for students living in the residence halls.
IU Bloomington currently offers two separate SCVNGR treks. One is based on the IU Bucket List of experiences that all IU students should have before graduating.
"Some of the challenges require being in a specific place at a specific event or time of day, so it may take a while for Hoosiers to complete," said Thom Atkinson, senior social media specialist at IU Bloomington. "The other is meant to help students and visitors explore campus. It offers a guide to iconic campus landmarks and includes some interesting IU trivia and is designed so that it can be completed in around an hour on one fun romp through campus."
The first two winners of IU Bloomington's SCVNGR treks won goodie bags filled with items contributed by IU Athletics and IU Auditorium, among others. Prize packages have included IU-branded T-shirts, hats, sunglasses, event tickets, safety items (such as bike reflectors and flashlights) and purses or backpacks.
"The Welcome Week trek we offered this fall helped to directly support other Welcome Week activities and events while helping students get to know campus," Atkinson said, adding that future treks will focus on specific aspects of campus life.
SCVNGR adventures are also well-suited to campus visitors, current students and visiting alumni, Atkinson said. "SCVNGR encourages players to visit places that they may have never had a reason to go before and can help them re-connect with campus."