From the Nominator
"In the wake of 2020, amidst a sprawling landscape of digital noise and waning attention, how do you engage in-person and remote audiences like never before? Enter the Yale Pep Rally, a hybrid alumni relations initiative that forges a roadmap for post-pandemic engagement.
Originally conceived in 2020 as a response to the cancellation of the annual Yale vs. Harvard game, the pep rally is a collaborative effort across three teams at the Yale Alumni Association (YAA) and Yale Athletics. The first-ever edition of this initiative was held entirely online as part of a two-week celebration that included live interviews with current and former members of the Yale football, cheer, and band communities, DJ-led dance parties, Instagram filters and stickers, and opportunities to win prizes.
The return of “The Game” as an in-person event in 2021 spurred an even more innovative approach. The 2021 Pep Rally elevated a single-day event into a comprehensive initiative celebrating all things Yale. Including many of the same components as the 2020 virtual iteration, the pep rally added a virtual alumni village, live side-line reporting, in-person alumni village, Boola Boxes for regional club watch parties, and an more opportunities to win through contests and give-a-ways.
Through extensive outreach, marketing, digital innovation, and hybrid programming, the pep rally successfully reaffirmed and renewed the deep bonds among Yalies while energizing alumni to connect and participate in new ways."
From the Judges
Instead of pivoting for COVID-19 and returning to the status quo, this program recognized the potential for increased engagement beyond those in physical attendance. Utilizing virtual experiences, it provided an opportunity for those living away from the institution to show their pride. While many institutions do not have a rivalry, this program can serve as an example of integrating physical and virtual opportunities centered on a meaningful collegiate event.