2014-15 website redesign

Follow our progress, and offer feedback, as the Office of Marketing and Communications teams up with OHO Interactive to bring our community an all-new, retooled, well-oiled website.

Imagination is the beginning…

Imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine and at last you create what you will.
– George Bernard Shaw

What will www become?

What will www become?

It’s official! Saint Martin’s University and OHO Interactive* have joined forces to redesign our own beloved website. Wahoo!

Last month, while many were hanging stockings by chimneys with care, we were signing contracts and preparing to hit the ground running come the first of 2015.

Well, here we are, the first of 2015! And on Wednesday, January 7, Genevieve (Chan), Carl (Lew) and I (Vanessa Schuler) had a kick-off meeting with our OHO counterparts (Stephanie Krol, Eleni Stathoulis, Georgy Cohen and Lindsay Wagner) to discuss their first visit to campus. Woohoo! The dates have been solidified and the schedule is almost complete.

OHO Interactive campus visit: January 20-22, 2015

Why is OHO coming to campus? In a nutshell, to get to know us.

Saint Martin’s has a story to tell and a future to live into. The website is our primary vehicle for communicating these ideas with the outside world. Carl and I, along with our incredible web assistants, have been doing our darnedest to keep things fresh, relevant and up-to-date, but let’s face it…it needs a facelift (pun intended). OHO is here to help. Help re-vision the look. Help re-vision the message. But in order to help, they have to get to know us. So they’re spending three days with our community to learn who we are and what makes us tick.

This is where you come in.

Stakeholder discovery sessions

Beginning January 20, the OHO team (Eleni, Georgy, Lindsey and OHO Founder, Jason Smith) will be on campus to meet us. Meet you. They’ll ask us about Saint Martin’s. What we think about it, how we feel about it and what it means to us.

We have a roster of key community members we’ll be inviting to these stakeholder discovery sessions. Folks from around campus: faculty, staff and students. We hope that all who are invited are able to attend, and all who attend share their thoughts openly and honestly. We seek to discover the intersections, as well as the gaps, between who we say we are, who we actually are and who we want to be. Our goal is to bring these into alignment so that we convey our most authentic self via the website.

A series of sessions have been booked around campus January 20 and 21. We’ll be sending invitations** via email the week of January 12. We are so excited about this project, and incredibly excited about spending time with all of you.

And so it begins!

* Put a face on OHO so that when they’re on campus you’ll be able to give them a warm Saint Martin’s welcome. They’re good peeps and we’re thrilled to be working with them.

** This will be the first of many conversations to come. We want our entire community to be a part of the conversation. There will be many opportunities throughout the life of the project for members of our community to participate – for example, share your thoughts on this blog!


Santa meets Lao Tzu: Saint Martin’s University’s website redesign project

Lao Tzu says, “A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.”

Our first step began in spring 2014 when then-Vice President of Marketing and Communications, Jennifer Fellinger, came to the team and said, “We’ve been given a budget for a website redesign!” After mopping up the coffee sprayed all over the table, we shouted, “Yeehaw!” Followed closely by, “Uh, what now?”

“What now?” became step two: Web Manager, Carl Lew, now-Vice President, Genevieve Chan and me, Web Content Manager, Vanessa Schuler, stole away from the rest of the tasks on our plate — early mornings here, late afternoons there — to build, compile, write, list, collect, amass, edit and refine a letter to Santa (a.k.a. Request for Proposal, a.k.a. wishlist) asking for the whole enchilada: one, unique higher ed marketing and web design firm that “gets” Saint Martin’s University.

After two solid months of thinking and conceiving and analyzing and envisioning, we put a stamp on it, and on September 11, 2014 we moved to step three: popping ourĀ North Pole petition into the mail (i.e. email, Twitter and the RFPDatabase) in hopes that Saint Nicholas would hear our plea.

Now the way I understand how Santa to works, you write your letter, put it in the mail and wake up Christmas morning with either a lump of coal or a shiny new toy, depending on whether you’re naughty or nice. Weeelllll, Santa works a little differently on projects with a budget, so a few weeks after we sent our letter into the Internet ether…Ba-da-boom, ba-da-bing! An elf appeared at the MarCom door with 16 proposals ranging in size from 20 pages to 75 pages and a note from Santa saying “Season’s greetings! You decide!”

Ack! Egads! How to choose?

This led to step four:

Like Who’s down in Whoville, the tall and the small,
We poured through proposals, we went through them all.
We gave the committee* the best we could see,
And asked if they’d rank them: one, two or three!

By October the committee had ranked the three vendors and invited them to campus. Step five. One by one they came. Bringing gifts of words, ideas and presentations–each according to their strengths. And their strengths were legion!

We scurried back to HQ to converse, examine and weigh. Through quiet contemplation and deep deliberation we arrived at a decision (step six), dispatching our choice (step seven), via candy cane pneumatic tube, back to the land of snow, to see if Santa would deliver the goods! And…

It’s not yet Christmas, but we’re happy to say,
Step eight has happened, yay, yay and YAY!
Santa delivered our vendor of choice,OHO Interactive logo
The one we believe will give us our voice.
The one who will “get” us and help us achieve,
The magic we’re seeking, the stories we’ll weave!
Hailing from Boston, a fabulous team,
OHO Interactive, they’re truly our dream!

Congratulations to OHO Interactive and Saint Martin’s University on our gift of collaboration!

Our journey of a thousand steps has begun. Thank you to President Heynderickx, the Board of Trustees, Dino Batali and our amazing web committee for helping us take these first steps.

Stay tuned to our MarCom blog. This is a journey we’re taking together. We want to share each step with you and get feedback from you along the way.

“OHO, ho! Merry Christmas!”

*Our web committee: super-duper-troopers Dino Batali, Deanna Bourgault, Bailey Craft, Greg Davis, Ellamae Donato, Meg Dwyer, Genevieve Gottwald, Scot Harrison, Fumie Hashimoto, Ryan Jackson, Spencer Jerome, Megan Lobdell, Mary MaselliĀ and Alyssa Nastasi.