Conn wins two Grand Gold CASE awards
Connecticut College’s Office of Communications has been awarded two 2021 Circle of Excellence Awards from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education in the marketing and writing categories.
“Dancing Camels,” the College’s admitted students campaign for the Class of 2024, received the Grand Gold Award in the Marketing on a Shoestring subcategory, while “This Hard Land,” a Winter 2020 CC Magazine article, was honored with the Grand Gold Award in the Feature Writing subcategory.
The international CASE awards program honors outstanding work in advancement services, alumni relations, communications, fundraising and marketing at colleges, universities, independent schools and affiliated nonprofits. A Grand Gold Award is the highest level of recognition in the program, and the award is reserved for entries that are extremely exceptional or “game-changing.” Grand Gold Awards are rare, and only one may be given per category.
“It is wonderful that CASE has again recognized the exceptional work of our communications team,” said Pamela Dumas Serfes, vice president for communications. “To receive two Grand Golds in this challenging year is both rewarding and recognizes the creative vision and expertise this team brings to every project they undertake.”
The “Dancing Camels” campaign, led by Director of Admission Marketing Eileen Jenkins, was designed to publicly celebrate and welcome the Class of 2024, and direct them to take steps that would quickly make them feel part of the Camel community. The homepage banner on the College website showcased a revolving carousel of video vignettes featuring the beloved Camel (a student in our mascot costume) in an array of amusing locations: wearing a Snuggie and eating popcorn with students in a common room; in sunglasses on a beach towel catching rays on the main green; and throwing a snowball on a wintry day and facing a barrage of snowballs in return. The campaign also appeared on the admitted student landing page and on social media.
“The College’s creativity was fun and welcoming to new students, especially in a time of great uncertainty,” the CASE judges wrote. “Most importantly, the fun, welcoming Camel produced impressive results. The 91% of EDI students making deposits and 31% of EDII students making deposits is a win-win for the students and the college, and it should be underscored that this happened during the pandemic, when many prospective students were contemplating their choice to attend university or take a year off.”
To create the campaign, Jenkins led a creative team that included Senior Front End Web Developer Christelle Lachapelle; Web and Graphic Designer Adam Bastien; former Videographer, Multimedia Producer and Photographer Miles Ladin ’90; Associate Web Developer Michael Iula; Senior Social Media Strategist Kate Wargo; and former Senior Assistant to the Vice President for Communications Rebecca Hawkins. Payton Ferris ’23 played the role of the Camel mascot.
“When we submitted the Dancing Camels to CASE for consideration, we noted that this was ‘a labor of silly love from a small group of coworkers who discussed it over one of our regular lunches in Cro (Conn’s student center).’ I’d done a scaled-down version the year before, but when our lunch crew started talking about how we could up the game, everybody threw out amazing ideas, most of which we were able to execute,” Jenkins said. “We all love the Camel, and we wanted to embrace the quirkiness and humor that we see throughout our whole community. Because we know our collective personality is a big reason why students apply and enroll here.”
“This Hard Land,” by Assistant Director of Content Amy Martin, tells the story of the Eastern Pequot Tribal Nation and the tribal members’ decades-long struggle to have their federal recognition—won briefly in 2002—restored.
“The story of the Eastern Pequots is one of remarkable resilience, and one that highlights extraordinary inequity and injustice. It’s a story tribal members want to tell, and one that I was honored to have the opportunity to share,” Martin said. “My goal was to bring the reader with me to the reservation—possibly the oldest continuously inhabited native reservation in the country—to feel the power of the land and the perseverance of the people.”
The CASE judges called the article “one of the most gorgeous pieces of writing we have ever encountered in academic writing.”
“This feature reads like a transcript for This American Life. The subject is timely, providing both historical narrative and reckoning with injustice, but with healing and hope. This is the kind of central feature every magazine should strive to have,” they wrote.
This is the fifth CASE award for CC Magazine, the College’s flagship publication, since 2018. In 2020, CC Magazine was awarded bronze in the design category for the cover of the Winter 2019 issue, “Lost In My Life.” In 2018, CC Magazine was recognized with three CASE awards: a silver in the Magazine Publishing Improvement category for its 2016 redesign; a gold award in the design category for the cover of the Summer 2017 issue, “Birth of the Cool,” and a silver award in the design category for the Winter 2017 cover, “The Dance.”
The magazine team is made up of Edward Weinman, editor; Martin; Doug Daniels, senior editor and writer; and Ben Parent, art director.