Informational and directional signs. Digital monitors around campus. The Harding App and website. All platforms of social media. One department on campus pulls together all these aspects and more: University Communications and Marketing (UCM).
UCM plays a large role in Harding events such as Homecoming and Spring Sing. For this year’s Homecoming, the department designed and is producing over 100 different signs to denote different features of the week such as reunions, banquets, the tailgate and more. The office is also responsible for programs and handouts distributed throughout the weekend.
Director of Marketing Candice Moore works directly with the many print products that UCM produces for Homecoming. She said UCM provides a sense of cohesiveness for the whole weekend.
“[Without UCM,] I think it would be a little harder to navigate without clear instructions and schedules,” Moore said. “Our whole UCM team pours our heart and soul into working with Parent and Alumni Relations, Physical Resources, Admissions, [Campus Activities Board] and others to make Homecoming the best it can be.”
Director of Digital Media Hannah Owens is responsible for Harding’s social media and web content as well as other digital aspects of UCM. She said while much of UCM’s Homecoming work occurs in the weeks leading up to the big weekend, her job gets particularly busy during the events themselves.
“Me and my team of student workers will be out and about showcasing the events of Homecoming on Instagram stories and on Facebook and Twitter and really showing people the wide range of activities that kind of fits all the needs,” Owens said. “My job is … to make sure that the content we’re putting out is communicating that and is making everybody feel like they belong at Harding, especially Homecoming weekend.”
Owens said events such as Homecoming warrant elevated efforts to pursue perfection. Last year’s Homecoming webpage garnered 8,904 views from Oct. 8-21. With so much exposure, UCM strives to have everything running smoothly.
“Our office is always trying to look for ways to make things better,” Owens said. “With each passing year after every big event, we, maybe not formally, but we always evaluate: how did it go, and can we change for next time? Because with such a giant undertaking of an event, there’s always going to be things [to improve].”
Homecoming preparation in UCM offices began in mid-September and did not slow down as the event approached. This weekend, keep an eye out for the various products, signs and digital outlets that draw the many corners of Homecoming together. Moore captured it best in her description of how UCM affects one of the biggest weekends at Harding.
“We help add the sizzle to Homecoming,” Moore said.