MURRAY, Ky. — Murray State’s University Advancement division recently received several regional awards for projects and initiatives.

“These campaigns represent the collaborative work of our alumni, development and marketing teams. They are dedicated to their work in an effort to advance Murray State University’s reputation and afford new opportunities for our Racer community,” said Dr. Adrienne King, vice president of University Advancement. “I’m pleased to see their outstanding work recognized by these two outstanding professional organizations.”

The CASE District III Conference, which took place Feb. 5-8 in Nashville, Tenn., held an awards competition with more than 900 entries submitted from universities throughout the region.

In the “Alumni Relations Fundraising Project, Event, or Program” category, Murray State received a special merit award for the #RacerHolidays crowdfunding project. In celebration of the holidays in 2015, Murray State issued a giving challenge to various constituents including students, faculty, staff, alumni and other supporters. The campaign’s theme of showcasing the diversity of the campus community included an effective integration of several marketing communications including video, social media, print, web, design, photography, and public relations. The campaign raised $19,391, resulting in 39 scholarships as well as University study spaces for students.

In the “Crisis/Issues Management Plan” category, Murray State received a special merit award for the “Sole Mates” series, which encouraged members of the campus community as well as alumni, to share their story of meeting their future spouse at Murray State. The University’s long-standing Shoe Tree tradition states that when two students meet at Murray State, fall in love, and marry, they will have good luck if each partner nails a shoe to the shoe tree. Past shoe trees had been removed on campus due to lightning strikes or safety concerns, but the Sole Mates series revitalized the campus tradition in 2016 as stories were shared by many couples who had met at Murray State. These stories were extended through social media and made available on a customized web page.

University Advancement also received recent awards from the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) East Central District, which includes seven states. The aforementioned #RacerHolidays campaign received a Merit Award while a pair of recruitment-based projects each received a Diamond Award.

The #ChooseMurrayState recruitment campaign was a multi-tiered marketing effort to attract prospective high school students from the southern Illinois region to consider attending Murray State. Within the campaign, the Racer Reps social media brand ambassadors team included 14 prospective students who were identified in the local area and were charged with completing a series of challenges on social media designed to highlight the University among their friends and classmates. Overall, the campaign proved to be extremely successful with a combined 26 percent increase in applications from the target areas. In addition, 13 of the 14 Racer Rep brand ambassadors enrolled at Murray State in August 2016.

The #MyOpportunity recruitment website involved the creation of a central online communications hub for prospective students. Both the design and messaging of the site provided students with a personal experience, walking users through the admissions process step-by-step with direct calls to action. With a simple, high-engaging site that incorporated bold colors, visuals and video, initial data and feedback indicated that the site resonated with the high school demographic, with visitors spending at last three minutes at a time on the site. The site was also recently featured at a national higher education technology conference and described as “out of the box” with a “perfect focus on prospective students”.

Murray State’s University Advancement division recently received several regional awards for projects and initiatives, including the #RacerHolidays campaign, which raised $19,391, resulting in 39 scholarships as well as University study spaces for students.