Our goal is to support your efforts in increasing student engagement on your campus, and with the launch of new features in the Red Rover platform and the ongoing growth of our community across the country, we've hit the ground running in 2011. Here's a snapshot of this month's latest and greatest news and updates.

Dan McDowell is a junior at the University of Massachusetts-Boston, studying Political Science with a minor in Public Policy. He’s currently the Speaker of the Student Senate in the Undergraduate Student Government, contributes to the SGA Collaborative, and moderates the #SGAChat on Twitter. He took a break from his busy schedule to talk with us about using social media to engage his campus with student government. How useful have web tools like blogging or Twitter been in achieving your goals, both in Student Government and personally? Our student government is just starting to dip into the realm of social media and working to build a stronger presence. We launched a new website at the very beginning of this year that includes a blog and a transparency tracker for legislative votes, as well as a variety of pages to aid those seeking out what we do, or trying to find out how to utilize our services or join up. Personally, I have utilized my Twitter to participate in a variety of discussions—from local politics to student government and student affairs. I use my Facebook page to announce events across campus and try and get students involved. I also utilize LinkedIn as a professional resource, and have a personal blog, One Part Student.

It's a new year, and a time of new classes, new friends to meet, and new opportunities around every corner. With new (there's that word again) features that help you keep up with what's happening at your institution, the Student Directory is here to help you keep moving forward. Here's to another year of growing and learning together in 2011!

Moving students from online connections to offline engagement is a goal of Red Rover. We want to help you find people who are excited about the same things as you within your community and then help you go do stuff around those interests. Facilitating connections around shared interests builds a sense of comfort which according to researchers, like Astin and Tinto, leads to increased participation and, ultimately, retention.  For FYE courses we co-wrote curriculum that uses Red Rover to help students understand the concepts of first impressions and digital identities. 

We've received a collection of requests to write activities for orientation that use Red Rover to help connect students together better while at orientation. Below is the first, of many, outlines for ways to better implement Red Rover at orientation.

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