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University at Buffalo

The purpose of the Awards for Excellence Program is to identify projects that have achieved outstanding results through good planning, well-conceived goals, and effective solutions, to share models of performance with the SUNYCUAD membership, and to reward institutions and individuals for their singular achievements.

Please remember, winners are based on meeting stated objectives and goals NOT the size of the institution.

All entries must include a brief abstract (maximum of two pages) outlining a concise description of the program; goals and objectives; resources, including budget and staffing; audience; and well-documented results.

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Please click on a category for details and submission information.

Advertising

Awards will be given for the best ad campaigns used for the advancement of an institution, with an emphasis on paid advertising aimed at target audiences. Special consideration will be given to fresh ideas and creative concept development.

For individual advertising programs entries, submit one screen shot.

For total advertising programs entries, submit three to five screen shots or print outs from your ad campaign. Submit both digital and print advertising (if applicable).

Judges will specifically look at understanding of the target audience(s); the ad’s content, writing, editing, and design; budget; and use of available resources.

Subcategories:

  1. Individual Advertising
  2. Total Advertising Program

Alumni Programs

This category showcases excellence within the Alumni Relations field.

  1. Alumni Relations Events and Affinity Programs: This award is given to the best alumni relations event and affinity program. Programs that may be entered include homecoming/reunions, affinity clubs/ chapter’s branches, alumni boards, campus/ constituent groups, and parent programs, along with alumni education, community service, career assistance, awards, alumni admissions, legislative advocacy, and technology applications.
  2. Best Alumni Fundraising Campaign: This award is given to exemplary alumni fundraising campaigns. Entries should include budget of fundraising campaign, description of fundraising campaign, and total funds raised.

Development Programs and Fundraising Publications

This category showcases publications and/or examples of innovative programming produced for fundraising purposes for any audience.

Explain any unusual circumstances or challenges faced and describe allocation of resources and measures of success. Limit the number of attachments to what is needed to understand your project.

  1. Fliers, Pamphlets, and Brochures
  2. President’s/ Annual Reports (used primarily for fundraising purposes)
  3. Fundraising Packages (two to five coordinated appeals targeted to any audience)
  4. Innovations in Fundraising

Effective, Efficient, and Elegant Publications

This category recognizes individual publications targeted to a specific audience. Items entered in this category may also be entered in other categories.

  1. Internal Audiences
  2. External Audiences
  3. Alumni Audiences

**Do not include staff salaries or postage in calculating costs.

Excellence in Writing

Awards will be given to the best full- or part-time staff-written items. Staff must be on the payroll.

  1. General News Writing: appearing in a periodical (magazine, tabloid, newsletter, or online news website that is published at minimum once a year). Staff must be on the payroll, and their names should appear on the masthead or in a byline. These award submissions must be targeted for the external general news media.
  2. Research and Other Technical News Writing: to external research and trade media. Topics may relate to any field, including medical and natural sciences, social sciences, humanities, arts, and technical or vocational disciplines.
  3. Feature Writing: intended for college publications and/or websites. Staff must be on the payroll.

Government Relations and Community Relations Programs

Awards will be given for exceptional community relations and government relations programs. Entries should emphasize how the institution worked with the community or the governmental agency to identify and correct a problem, or to increase awareness of a situation and the overall effect of the program or project.

The program may be ongoing or new this year, but must have been in place long enough to have produced well-documented, conclusive results. They may include (but are not limited to) work in these areas: community revitalization; continuing education; recycling/environmental projects; social outreach; town-gown issues; or other public interest areas.

Successful projects will use the talents of advancement functions including public relations; strategy, execution, and results are equally important.

Internal Communications

Communications programs and strategies that are executed within the confines of the campus for audiences such as college employees and/or current students will be recognized within this category. These communications can be in digital, print, or events. Entries can include email, intranets, digital signage, social media, signs, posters, print pieces, and events.

Entries should identify the communications situation that the program and strategies were designed to address, the execution and implementation, and the results of the communication. Programs and strategies that are exceptionally innovative and creative, and can emphasize documented results, will garner special attention by the judges.

Magazines

Magazines are periodicals published at minimum on a yearly basis for distribution to internal and/or external audiences. Magazines generally display more photography and illustration (frequently full pages) than newsletters. Magazines carry longer and more developed stories, editorials, and features.

  1. Online/ Digital Mediums
  2. Print

** Do not include postage and salaries when determining cost per issue.

Media Relations Program

Programs may be aimed at external or internal audiences and may use traditional and non-traditional tools. They may include (but are not limited to) press releases, expert guides, media contact programs, programs that enhance presidential visibility or institutional stature, programs that heighten institutional media involvement, and faculty awareness programs. Include one copy of each of the materials produced.

Photography

Submitted work must have appeared in an institutional publication or project or have been used for an institutional purpose such as an exhibition or advertising. Black-and-white or color photographs may be entered.

  1. Best Photo (One Photo)
  2. Excellence in Photography (Series of Photos)

Shoestring Budget: Magazines

Magazines are periodicals published at minimum on a yearly basis, for distribution to internal and/or external audiences. Magazines generally display more photography and illustration (frequently full pages) than newsletters. Magazines carry longer and more developed stories, editorials, and features. They are printed on matte, uncoated, or coated paper.
Entries are restricted to materials that are written and designed in-house but may have been printed off-campus.
Particular attention is given to the relationship between the magazine’s effectiveness and overall quality-to-cost.
**Do not include postage and salaries when determining cost per issue.

Shoestring Budget: Publications

This category recognizes individual publications that exemplify creative work produced on a limited budget. Entries are restricted to materials that are written and designed in-house but may have been printed off campus. Items entered in this category may also be entered in other categories.

** Do not include staff salaries or postage in calculating costs.

Particular attention is given to the relationship between the publication’s effectiveness and overall quality-to-cost.

Shoestring Budget: Special Events

Awards are given to the best event.

Particular attention is given to the relationship between the event’s effectiveness and overall quality to cost.

**Do not include postage and salaries when determining cost per issue.

Shoestring Budget: Videos

This award recognizes the best in video production. Entry must include a web link (URL to YouTube, etc.) to video submissions. An understanding of the target audience and the institution’s mission and how well it is communicated will be judge, along with content, scripting, photography, sound track, editing, budget, and use of available resources. Include length of your entry.

Entries are restricted to materials that are written and filmed in-house.

Particular attention is given to the relationship between the video’s effectiveness and overall quality to cost.

**Do not include postage and salaries when determining cost per issue.

Shoestring Budget: Websites

This award recognizes the best websites and apps. Judges will look for content; clarity; and creativity; design/ navigation/usability; innovation; budget; and methods for evaluation of site and results. Include direct URL in entry materials.

Entries are restricted to materials written and designed in-house but may have been printed off-campus.

Particular attention is given to the relationship between the website’s effectiveness and overall quality to cost.

**Do not include postage and salaries when determining cost per issue.

Social Media

This award recognizes the best in social media marketing. Entries in this category may include blogs maintained by the institution (alumni association, president, student life, admissions/recruitment, etc.). Include URL or hashtags and description of intended goals and audiences. Goals of social networking campaign and indications of success (web analytics, traffic, increase in likes, increase in followers, sentiment of comments, and increase in participation or attendance) should be included.

  1. Comprehensive social media campaign: two or more platforms
  2. Individual platform campaign: single platform

 

Special Events

Awards are given to the best event. Please see sub-categories for more information.

  1. Individual Events: For events organized around special occasions, such as anniversaries, inaugurations, galas, reunions, educational programs, alumni club functions, convocations, special commemorations, building dedications, sports activities, fundraising dinners, and other institutional and alumni programs.
  2. Event Series: For multiple special events centered on a theme, such as anniversaries, inaugurations, or fundraising campaigns.

Student Recruitment Publications

Awards are given to the best student recruitment pieces and publications. They may be directed to a general or specific audience.

  1. Individual (Viewbooks and prospectuses, catalogs, course listings, search publications, fliers and brochures, posters)
  2. Packages (two to five coordinated publications used for recruitment). Single or group mailings consisting of multimedia packages, mousepads, posters, postcards, t-shirts, etc. are eligible if they are part of the coordinated group

Video

This award recognizes the best in video production. Entry must include a web link (URL to YouTube, etc.) to video submissions. An understanding of the target audience, the institution’s mission, and how well it is communicated will be judged, along with content, scripting, photography, sound track, editing, budget, and use of available resources. Include length of your entry.

  1. General Information Videos
  2. Alumni and Fundraising Videos
  3. Recruitment Videos
  4. News and Research Videos

Websites

This award recognizes the best websites and apps. Judges will look for content; clarity; and creativity; design/ navigation/usability; innovation; budget; and methods for evaluation of site and results. Include direct URL in entry materials.

  1. Entire Site (website design and usability throughout the entire website)
  2. App Development
  3. Microsites/ Individual Websites (website designed to accompany a specific publication or to celebrate a special purpose, including presidential inaugurations, anniversary celebrations, special events, fundraising campaigns, etc.)
  4. Most Accessible Site (This is a website that is the most accessible to all users. Specifically looking at websites that perform well with screen readers.)
  5. Online Campus News Site (website directed at relaying news to both internal and external audiences, including magazines and e-newsletters.)