Technology advances to keep higher education students engaged at home and when they return to campus.
Having made the massive move to remote classes in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, universities are now taking a measure of what enrollment will look like going forward. Could remote learning continue into the fall? “Will students come back?” a New York Times headline queries.
What can campuses do to ensure students come back or start anew as freshmen? Some schools are considering perks, from free parking to free classes, according to the Washington Post. Others suggest universities and colleges should “prioritize building affinity and belonging with their students pre-enrollment through activities and communications.”
The PIPs on Campus program does both. Powered by the PIPs mobile engagement platform, PIPs on Campus utilizes proven behavioral strategies, from games to rewards, including valuable scholarship grants and food credits, to motivate students to maintain eco-healthy habits and stay in school. As Linda Kogan, former Director of Sustainability at UCCS explained to her team, the PIPs on Campus program provides an opportunity for the office of Sustainability to be “an important partner in student engagement and retention efforts.”
Creating Value Through Action
Why focus the campus community on eco-healthy habits at this time? What could our daily life choices possibly have to do with the deadly coronavirus? Quite a lot, actually. Indeed, how we get about, how we use resources, what we eat, etc contributes significantly to the deforestation which researchers are showing increases the likelihood that viruses and other pathogens will jump from animals to humans, and to pollution which other scientists are finding is linked to higher COVID-19-related death rates. Engagement in the most popular PIPs-worthy actions, such as biking, walking or using public transportation and recycling, composting and reducing food waste also helps a school reduce their carbon footprint and meet their commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals
The PIPs App has been actively engaging students and delivering results at CU Boulder since fall term 2017 and the University of Colorado Colorado Springs since fall 2019. The data shows clearly that by offering students the chance to turn engagement in eco-healthy actions into scholarships and food credits, our university partners stand to reap significant economic and social return:
- In aggregate, students are taking an average of 2850 earn actions a day, the most popular being water bottle refilling, recycling, and bike riding.
- Students are using the PIPs they earn for scholarships, food credits, and other basics.
- Over 235 students have committed their PIPs to the PIPs for School program.
- With the 2:1 matching grants from the PIPs Education Fund (PEF), participating students stand to unlock over $40,000 in scholarships in 2020.
- Students have redeemed their PIPs for nearly $24,000 in food gift cards in 2019–20, helping to support basic needs and address food insecurity concerns
- Students have saved nearly 322,200 lbs of carbon, the equivalent of planting 6713 trees, through their everyday eco-healthy actions.
- Retention rates among PIPs users at CU (where we have 2 full years of data) are 5+% higher than others in their freshman cohort.
Digital Tools Create Daily Engagement
As a digital platform that can go virtually anywhere, the PIPs app can help the university in its efforts to proactively support students’ daily health and wellness behaviors, while nurturing a sense of connectedness and belonging, whether among incoming freshmen or among those currently enrolled but sheltering at home. Engagement activities and communications tools that can be deployed wherever students are include the following:
- PIPs @ Home: Popular everyday carbon-footprint reducing earn actions including water bottle refilling, recycling, composting, walking and biking are now available at home as well as around campus.
- PIPs for Attending Digital Learning Events: Schools can award PIPs to students who attend (non-academic) webinars, online fitness classes or other organized digital learning events.
- Trivia and other Contests: Frequent trivia contests as well as carbon challenges and scavenger hunts offer fun learning opportunities.
- Newsletters, Push Notifications: The frequency with which we have been sending newsletters and push notifications has doubled since COVID caused our partner schools to move to remote classes but can be adjusted to suit a campus’ needs.
Request A Demo
If you are interested in exploring a technology platform to deepen engagement among your students, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a demo.
About ‘PIPs on Campus’
PIPs on Campus is a program that comes to life through a unique ‘tech for good’ platform called PIPs Rewards or ‘the PIPs App.’ Students who are signed on to the app (through a secure SSO) earn a digital currency (Positive Impact Points, or PIPs) when they complete verified actions that provide personal, community and/or planetary benefits, actions such as biking, riding the bus, refilling water bottles, attending events or participating in a workout class. Once earned, PIPs can be converted into high-value rewards, including scholarships to pay school fees or gift cards for healthy food and other essentials. As more and more students at a subscribed university put their PIPs toward PIPs for School scholarships, the university recoups a greater portion of their subscription investment. To learn more, click here.