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Campus Communication Tools & Resources

Whether you are sharing news, events, or programming updates, here are some suggestions and best practices for effectively connecting with our community. 

Email and Newsletter Best Practices | Event Promotion | Using the Dash

Email & Newsletter Best Practices 

Don’t neglect your subject line

A clear and concise subject line helps your email stand out in a cluttered inbox. It should make the reader want to open your message — and relay key information for those who don’t.

Check your links

It’s best to include full URLs in messages sent to the faculty-staff digest, as those who receive those messages in a single daily digest won’t be able to easily see hyperlinks. When including a full URL, remove the “https://” and “www.” as they are not necessary. 

Look beyond Gmail for Newsletters

Gmail helps us do a great many things but is not the best tool creating visually engaging newsletters, for both practical and accessibility reasons. For something dynamic and accessible, Emma is the College’s recommended tool, and won’t end up in people’s spam folder. 

If you’d like some pointers once you’ve set up your Emma account, reach out to Alexandra Sastre, associate director for campus communications, at asastre1@swarthmore.edu.

Make sure messages with images are accessible

For more information on making your emails accessible, please follow these helpful guidelines.

Avoid including images in your Gmail messages, especially if they have text on them. Images with text cannot be read by screen readers, so your information will will be missed by anyone who relies on them to access email and the web. If you must include an image in your message, make sure it does not include text or other important information, unless that information is repeated in the main body of the message. 

If you are using another email tool, like Emma (see above), you should make sure to include alt-text for each image. Alt-text is a description included with an image that conveys key information about that image when it isn’t visible. Learn more about using alt text.  

Give things one last read

Before hitting send, take a moment to carefully read and review your message to catch any typos or broken links you may have missed.

 

Event Promotion

Consider your timing

It can be tempting to just send out your message as soon as it’s done, but putting some thought into your message timing can help you more effectively promote your program or event. Attention spans are short and calendars fill up quickly, so getting news out about your event about a week before strikes a good balance.

Limit your reminders

Limit your event reminders to one or none; unless your registration is markedly low, avoid sending event reminders that will clutter inboxes and cause frustration. 

Think beyond email

Diversify how and where you promote things, beyond email: 

  • Make sure your event has been added to SwatCentral. For support with promoting your event on the campus calendar, please reach out to calendar@swarthmore.edu.
  • If your department has a dedicated Dash area, add an announcement there.
  • Consider adding a link to your calendar event in your email signature (but remember to remove it once it’s no longer current!).
  • Banners, chalking, and posters can be helpful tools to get the word out on campus so long as you follow these guidelines

Using the Dash

For Dash support, email dash@swarthmore.edu  

The Dash is our campus community dashboard. It is where critical community-wide announcements are posted, and it contains helpful campus information like our campus directory, dining menus, campus office and department hours, links to the latest news from the College, job postings, classifieds, and more. You can also access several tools, including your email, MySwarthmore, and Moodle, directly from the Dash.

Did you know that you can customize what you see when you visit the Dash? Simply log into the Dash with your Swarthmore credentials by selecting the blue Login button on the top left of your screen. Then you can:

  • Minimize or remove any block or pane by using the "– X " buttons that appear on the top right corner of each information block/pane.  Select (–) to minimize or (X) to remove. 
  • Move a block/pane by selecting its garnet title bar and dragging it to move it to your preferred area.
  • To restore a pane you’ve removed, make sure you are logged in, then select the green "Logged In As…" button on the top left of your screen.  Select "Settings," then "Show Block" next to whichever one you’d like to restore.