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University of Maryland Stamp Student Union: Pulling Students In

Stamp Student Union at the University of Maryland is a bustling center for activities and is visited by over 20,000 students a day. The University has recently celebrated their 150th anniversary and has over 40,000 undergraduate and graduate students. With nearly half the student body coming through the doors each day, the Stamp Student Union Marketing team is constantly looking for ways to grab, inform and excite their visitors.

Stamp IT personnel chose AxisTV digital signage software after viewing a product demonstration at a conference. The system replaces an old, outdated product installed by another manufacturer. Andy Mrusko, Marketing Coordinator for Stamp, is a fan of both the form and functionality of the AxisTV digital signage software. “The system is clean and modern. It complements the new building design.”

Boasting five restaurants, a food court, gallery, arcade, bookstore, food co-op, copy center, banking, bowling, billiards, and the popular Hoff Theater, Stamp has a constant stream of events, announcements and advertising to deliver to their audience.

One of the primary challenges met by the AxisTV system was the need to improve communication to the student body in both an efficient and effective manner. Mrusko comments, “Our goal is to keep the student union alive and to pull students in. AxisTV helps by drawing more students to us who are interested in what we’re delivering.”

Two Marketing Assistants create the bulk of the bulletins, with a few departments publishing directly to the system. The user-friendly nature of AxisTV has made it a hit with the people who are responsible for managing such a large amount of content. Karlena Walker comments, “AxisTV is so easy to use. We often create bulletins in PowerPoint or PhotoShop and then import them into AxisTV. Kristie Pope, our other Marketing Assistant has a design degree. I have some layout experience, but am not formally trained. AxisTV has the capability to deliver so much information in such a timely and creative manner. It really pulls people in.”

Stamp runs AxisTV on 7 large-screen displays placed throughout the Student Union. A Professional Edition content manager and two rack-mount channel players deliver communications to the screens, and to a dedicated cable channel that feeds every student dorm room and classroom. The Video Window, Graphic Link and Schedule Display options allow the Marketing team to incorporate videos, external graphics and event schedules extracted from Scheduler Plus by PeopleCube.

Events are extremely important to the success of Stamp’s AxisTV strategy, with one content block dedicated to schedule information. Approximately one-third of bulletin topics come from Student Union department announcements, while the bulk concerns upcoming events that are advertised right up until their start time.

“Our marketing has become refined to the point that we get an overwhelming response from students,” says Andy Mrusko. “Students prefer to check the AxisTV system for information.”

His team has standardized AxisTV policies and allows students to submit content for approval and publishing. Live original programming in the form of 15-30 minute “TV shows” produced by campus groups are broadcast, and the Marketing team plans to exploit the Video Window option by offering more motion content, specifically theatrical previews for the in-house cinema.

Mrusko continues, “The screens create visual excitement. Students stop in their tracks to watch.” Walker adds, “AxisTV is a great resource. Every university or institution needing to get a lot of information out to a large number of people should have it.”