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Copy And Share Everything
Copy And Share Everything

Ideas we love from institutions everywhere

By Theresa Walker

These students are We Are Aggie Pride volunteers at UC Davis. (left to right) Jeremy Chan, Salma Abdelfattah, Ellen Davis, Crystal Ye, Kenny Truong, and Iswarya Chandramouli (Photo credit: Gregory Urquiaga).

Swarthmore ViewbookViewbook with a Viewpoint

Strategic Skepticism

Prospective students can read only so much about an institution's values and mission before the "marketing speak" leads to yawns. Swarthmore College answers this fatigue with its irreverent "Don't Read This," an 80-page viewbook the Pennsylvania institution debuted in September 2015 as part of its redesigned admissions materials. The publication is light on text, which makes its sometimes-cheeky flow charts and imagined banter between the college and an ambivalent prospect stand out. The early verdict from target audiences? "Don't Read This" is entertaining, daring, and could be the #bestcollegehookever.

Circle of Excellence Award, Gold, for print viewbooks. See a sample at

U of Richmond Magazine coverCoy Cover

How a Peek Piques Interest

So, you have a new president. Now comes the obligatory "meet the new leader" alumni magazine feature, a thought that may make the publication's staff queasy. For its "Our 10th President" cover, the Autumn 2015 issue of University of Richmond Magazine focused not on Ronald Crutcher's face but on revealing details about him. The tightly cropped photo draws focus to his spider-patterned bow tie and the cello cradled by the hand bearing his wedding ring. "The photograph invites the viewer to engage with the subject and take a closer look, while preparing readers for what they will learn about him … inside the issue," according to Samantha Tannich, the magazine's design director. CASE judges deemed it "courageous" and "unexpected."

Circle of Excellence Award, Gold, for cover design. Take a look at

We are Aggie Pride volunteers

Undergraduate Giving

Students Helping Students

Launching a major student philanthropy campaign in 2012, as the U.S. economy crawled out of the Great Recession, might have seemed counterintuitive for the University of California, Davis. Many students' families had lost jobs, businesses, or homes. But a student-focused situation analysis revealed that students, aka Aggies, were passionate about helping each other stay at the university. The result: We Are Aggie Pride, a program that provides emergency funding to students at risk of dropping out for financial reasons. WAAP has raised more than $150,000 to help 70 students and encouraged a culture of giving on campus. Learn more in chapter two of Lasting Impressions, available at

Photo credits: Swarthmore Viewbook and University of Richmond Magazine photos by Daniel Peck; Aggie Pride photo by Jennifer Thayer/UC Davis

About the Author Theresa Walker Theresa Walker

Theresa Walker is a senior editor at Currents, where she covers the marketing and communications beat.




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