Fontbonne University

New university subsite to manage post-Covid return to campus
June 2020
Information architecture, website design, email series
Build a new section of Fontbonne University’s website to address questions and concerns students, faculty, and staff had about returning to campus during the Covid-19 pandemic
Created a centralized hub of information for people returning to campus, helping reduce calls to student services and assuaging student and staff concerns

Project summary

When the Covid-19 pandemic hit the U.S. in early 2020, Fontbonne University sent students, staff, and faculty home. Eventually, when restrictions changed and administrators were ready to reopen campus, there were lots of questions about how it would work. To address these questions in the most thorough, accessible, and user-friendly way, we developed and launched the Griffin Return subsite (no longer live) within two weeks.


In 2020, I was working as the marketing and communications manager for Fontbonne University, a private liberal arts school in St. Louis, Missouri. When Covid-19 hit the U.S. and eventually St. Louis, Fontbonne closed down and sent everyone home. After the initial shutdown, the university needed a way to communicate with students and their families—as well as faculty and staff—about how the return to campus would be handled. A committee was formed to determine what policies would be put in place, and I was responsible for collecting, organizing, and presenting that information to the public.

Information Architecture

I started by requesting and gathering information from the committee members. I then combed through the many Microsoft Word documents, where my background in qualitative research came in handy for “coding” the contents.

Based on the data I reviewed, I created the following categories of content:

  • Health & safety
  • Working environment
  • Academics
  • Campus life
  • Athletics
  • Technology

With these main categories of content established, I added two final sections based on our need to collect updates in a central lcoation and address any common questions.

  1. Announcements
  2. FAQs
Basic sitemap for "Griffin Return" subsite

Content Development & Website Build

Once the structure had been created and approved, I drafted content for each section and built the site.

The “Griffin Return” site is no longer live, but you can see assorted screenshots from the initial launch below.

Griffin Return homepage
FAQs on the Workplace Policies page
Move-in details from the Residential Life page

As mandates and university policies changed over time, we were able to make updates in a single place as needed because of the content’s structure, saving valuable time. The announcement feed pulled Covid-tagged articles from the main Fontbonne blog, ensuring easy access to (and a historical record of) letters posted by the university.

Email Series

My role at the university also included managing email communications, so I drafted several series to be sent to relevant audiences during the initial return to campus.

You can read a full student sequence here, or one of the employee sequences here.

Screenshot of the copy for one of the Griffin Return student emails


Responding to the Covid-19 pandemic in a timely, empathetic, and responsible way was something none of us took lightly, especially in a university setting. It was challenging at times, and those of us working to ease the return for our colleagues and students were working to manage our own anxieties at the same time. In the end, I'm proud of what we were able to accomplish in such a short time period and with so much uncertainty. I certainly learned a lot from the experience, and I couldn't be more grateful for the PACT team's commitment to protecting our community's wellbeing during such a difficult time.

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