UNE Onward plan takes home top award from Maine Public Relations Council

UNE has won a top Golden Arrow award for its UNE Onward return-to-campus plan
UNE has won a top Golden Arrow award for its UNE Onward return-to-campus plan.

The University of New England’s UNE Onward plan — the internal communications campaign designed to educate students, faculty, and professional staff about safety protocols to minimize the spread of COVID-19 on campus — has received a prestigious Golden Arrow award from the Maine Public Relations Council (MPRC).

The campaign took home the top prize at the council’s annual awards ceremony on Feb. 24 and received the highest score of all nominations for consideration.

Since its release in April, the Onward plan has been effective at mitigating the spread of the novel coronavirus at the University. UNE experienced high compliance with safety protocols, with nearly 100% mask compliance, in particular.

The multi-channel Onward plan involved creation of a website to track weekly case reporting, an FAQ, and the UNE Onward Promise, a collective pledge to the UNE Community to keep one another safe by following safety precautions. The UNE graphic design team created approximately 20 different signs to communicate safety measures across the University’s multiple campuses, and the University posted 304 pieces of Onward-related content to social media from April through August 2020.

That social media content reached 606,164 people and received 68,672 instances of engagement, making it UNE’s longest and most successful organic social media campaign.

In addition to winning gold for the Onward campaign, UNE took home a second gold Golden Arrow award for its media campaign related to the Center for Excellence in Aging and Health’s efforts to support isolated older adults during the pandemic.