Student Communication Advisory Board (SCAB)

What is SCAB?

In fall 2014, the Division of Student Affairs Communications and Innovative Technologies department established the Student Communication Advisory Board (SCAB) so that we could take our ideas to the audience we wanted to reach – students. Through this group, we gauge student awareness of, interest in, and reaction to our communications and marketing efforts. Digital signs, email, social media, websites, newsletters, A-frames, banners, fliers, podcasts, videos, advertising – together, we think creatively about all the different ways we can get our message to students and increase awareness of Division of Student Affairs programs, services, and events.

Students love serving on the SCAB because

  • They see real results from their impact
  • They get access to key administrators in the Division of Student Affairs
  • They make friends and influence people
  • They are fed at every meeting

When do you meet? What are meetings like?

Once a month (four times each semester) we share ideas (and food)!

  • In SCAB meetings, students give us feedback on our current promotional campaigns and ideas for how we can better communicate with them. Each month, we engage in dynamic discussion about how information is disseminated to students and whether that information is relevant to their experience at Virginia Tech.
  • SCAB meetings are led by a facilitator and note taker. Topics are defined prior to the meetings, and an outline of ideas to be presented and questions to be asked is developed. The facilitators guide the discussion, but give plenty of time for the conversation to evolve organically, with ideas shared and different viewpoints expressed.
  • Meetings are invariably lively and fun, with great participation and attendance. The SCAB members take their work seriously and their contributions to our work are invaluable.

SCAB matters!

  • The Student Communication Advisory Board has quickly become the “go-to” group to get frank, articulate insights into student attitudes and preferences. They provide extremely useful perspectives into our work.

Would you like to be a member of SCAB?

  • Members are recruited from late March to early August through recommendations of DSA faculty and staff, college and department faculty, other students, and self-nomination.
  • Applications are reviewed by Communications and Innovative Technologies staff. The 16-20 members selected to serve on the Student Communication Advisory Board represent a diverse group of students spanning all years of the undergraduate experience and academic disciplines. The board includes both on- and off-campus students, members of Greek life, athletics, the Corps of Cadets, and more.

Recent projects tackled by the SCAB include

Monthly opportunities for students to talk with the Vice President of Student Affairs on any topic.

Key advisory board responses:

  • Consider changing the name; “Student Forums” seems awkward, boring, vague, hard to grasp, outdated
  • Meetings should be issue-related.
  • Take the meetings to where the students are – residence halls, dining centers – and take into account that off-campus students have parking issues.
  • Add a social media component

Result: Dr. Perillo is reimagining the student forums to make them more engaging, better advertised, and specific to topics of interest to students. A soft launch of the new format will happen spring 2015, with the full roll out of a new name and format scheduled for fall 2015.

SCAB members were asked to follow DSA Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts in advance of the discussion.

Key advisory board responses:

  • Too much info, not enough fun. Need to have a one-to-one ratio of informative and funny.
  • Not engaging -- show some personality; be approachable
  • Imagery is important

Results: DSA is more narrowly targeting its social media to students, using a less formal approach, and including more images.

YINW is the Division of Student Affairs' guidebook for incoming first year students, previously available for download as a PDF or readable online.

Key advisory board responses:

  • First-year students need a very specific checklist of things they need to do
  • YINW terminology that assumes you know things; make it simpler
  • Make it into an interactive website; have printed copies available

Results: DSA has created a dynamic, interactive YINW website, including the requested checklists, viewable on all computer devices.

Experience Virginia Tech is DSA’s effort to help students make sense of what they learn, both in and out of the classroom

Key advisory board responses:

  • Liked the inspiring language, but need to also cite specific benefits
  • Make the Field Guides available online
  • Love the mobile app and campus map!
  • Incorporate Experience Virginia Tech into academic curriculum
  • Have upperclass students give testimonials as to its value
  • Biggest problem will be follow-through; keeping students involved over time
  • Offer prizes

Results: Communications and Innovative Technologies is creating a comprehensive marketing plan that incorporates SCAB recommendations.

Contact Information


Patty Smith
Communication and Administrative Coordinator

Communications and Innovative Technologies (0301)
Virginia Tech, Division of Student Affairs
417 Clay Street SW
Blacksburg, VA 24061
540-231-9398
psmith60@vt.edu

Current Members

  • Sanah Ali
  • Jennifer Bagby
  • Kevin Byerly
  • Matt Byerly
  • Gabe Cohen
  • Jared Coplon
  • Mikaela Cox
  • Dallece Curley
  • Andrew Littlefield
  • Billy Liu
  • Kelly Mak
  • Dakota McManus
  • Alexis Medina
  • Sasha Morgan
  • Erika Nelson
  • Joey Schroers
  • Vincent Zhao