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.
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
- Campus life
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.