In a landmark development for higher education engagement, Santa Clara University (SCU), nestled in the heart of Silicon Valley, has embarked on a transformative journey to enhance its communication and engagement with the families of its students. This initiative, spearheaded by the university’s inaugural Director of Parent and Family Communication & Engagement, Steven Ponce, signifies a pivotal shift towards recognizing families as key partners in fostering student success.

Santa Clara University has proudly become the 400th customer of CampusESP, a pioneering platform dedicated to bridging the communication gap between universities and families. CampusESP’s innovative approach, centered around the philosophy that families play a crucial role in student achievement, has already positively impacted over 9 million families across various institutions. This collaboration marks a significant milestone for both CampusESP and SCU, as they join forces to create a more inclusive and supportive educational environment.

The appointment of Steven Ponce, who brought with him a wealth of experience from his tenure at institutions like Gonzaga, signals SCU’s commitment to this cause. Under Ponce’s guidance, the university aims to overhaul its communication strategies to better align with family preferences and needs. Ponce’s observations revealed a fragmented communication landscape, with different university constituencies operating in silos, leading to families feeling disconnected and poorly informed about crucial support resources and avenues to aid their students.

To combat these challenges, Ponce initiated a manually curated email newsletter, although it proved to be an unsustainable solution due to its time-consuming nature. The partnership with CampusESP emerged as a scalable, efficient alternative, enabling Ponce to distribute tailored updates and important announcements more effectively. Through CampusESP’s platform, SCU can now send targeted information based on individual interests, bypassing the limitations of social media algorithms and email filters.

One of the remarkable aspects of this partnership is the focus on inclusivity, particularly towards the Hispanic community, which constitutes a significant portion of the SCU student body. As the university progresses towards acquiring its Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI) designation, efforts to enhance communication with Spanish-speaking and Hispanic families have been prioritized. In response to research indicating a preference for text message communication among Hispanic families, the CampusESP SMS module has been integrated to facilitate alerts and reminders directly to families’ phones.

Dave Becker, CEO and co-founder of CampusESP, expressed his enthusiasm about welcoming Santa Clara University into the fold as the 400th client. This achievement underscores a growing realization among educational institutions of the indispensable role that families play in the academic journey. By leveraging the expertise and tools provided by CampusESP, universities like SCU are now better equipped to foster meaningful engagement with families, contributing to a supportive ecosystem that empowers students to thrive.

Steven Ponce’s vision for SCU involves harnessing the power of familial bonds to augment the university’s support network. Recognizing that students frequently turn to their families in times of need, providing parents and other family members with relevant, up-to-date information is critical. As SCU continues to develop its parent and family engagement program with the support of CampusESP, it sets a precedent for how universities can work hand-in-hand with families to champion student success in today’s complex educational landscape.