How to use an app for your traditions programs

Organizations invest in digital mediums for different reasons.

Many are looking to save costs on producing physical goods. Some want to bring efficiency to its operations. Others are just hoping to provide better service to its end users and customers.

As for the College of Charleston, all these factors played a role this spring when the school converted its traditions program from a printed book to an app from MobileUp Software.

Making Traditions Digital

Traditions programs at colleges and universities strive to educate students on the history of their schools to build lifelong affinities and loyalties.

The College of Charleston app does its part by listing and describing 25 popular activities that take place at various locations across campus.

The app then challenges students to visit at least 20 of these places and document their visit with a photo before they graduate.

Those that meet the goal are eligible to order a Traditions Keeper Medal to wear at graduation.

The app is custom-branded with the school’s colors and photo of the iconic red-brick walkways on campus. A list of the traditions to complete is included along with a description of the program.

The app tracks each student’s completions as they move through the traditions list. It also includes a campus-wide leaderboard and a photo highlight reel so students can compare their progress to classmates and share experiences at each stop.

For example, one tradition in the app challenges students to attend homecoming activities. The tradition is “completed” and added to the leaderboard and photo highlight reel when a student takes a selfie using the app at one of the events. (By the way, nice dance moves Clyde the Cougar!)

In addition to traditions, the app provides native access to information (no need to load a mobile website) that students need everyday.

Students access their choice of three school calendars (alumni events, athletics, and campus events) with events that can be saved to a personal calendar with one tap. There is also an aggregated feed of the school’s social media streams.
As an added benefit, app administrators can send important information such as deadline reminders and campus event announcements via push notifications. Perhaps the most important feature, however, is the “live” nature of the app that moves the delivery of the traditions from a book to students’ first choice for receiving information — their smartphones. “The flexibility to edit or update traditions as things change on campus is huge,” said Lauren Hurlock, Assistant Director, Marketing and Communications for the Office of Alumni Affairs. “I can make the changes in the administrator tools without incurring the cost of a graphic designer to make the edits. It brings the traditions to life, makes them timely, and allows us to adapt in real time.”

In with the new…

Hurlock and her team evaluated many factors before deciding to go with the app instead of the printed traditions book. “With the app, we didn’t have to store or take inventory of the physical books,” Hurlock said. “We thought it would be something the students would actually use where the book might end up floating around in someone’s book bag with their textbooks. The app is also a more environmentally friendly option.” The app took the place of the book on the traditions page of the school’s website as well. Check out this page that explains the traditions program and where students can download the app:

Need a closer look? Visit this page at

Off to a Fast Start

Launched about two months before commencement ceremonies in early April 2018, the app received a warm welcome at the seaside campus.

Approximately 300 students downloaded the app and completed more than 1,100 traditions activities during the course of 2,100 sessions in about two months’ time.


With the app launch behind them, administrators at the College of Charleston are excited to see the participation levels when students return in the fall.

“The College of Charleston has a rich history to offer its students and alumni,” Hurlock said. “Our students use their smartphones on a daily basis for many things. It has been a seamless and effective transition to move our Traditions Keeper program from a printed book to the app-based format.”