CampusESP Announces Customer 400: Santa Clara University

PHILADELPHIA--()--CampusESP was founded on the belief that families influence student success. It was a mindset that took some time to catch on, and we’ve celebrated not just our growth — but the impact that we’ve really been able to make for families and students — as we welcome new institutions to the community. A few months ago, we hit the mark of serving 9 million families, and were blown away.

So we’re excited to have achieved another milestone and to be welcoming Santa Clara University (SCU) as CampusESP Customer 400! A private Jesuit school in Silicon Valley, Santa Clara has long believed in the power of community but is just starting their parent and family engagement journey. We’re honored to be building alongside them.

New focus on “parents as partners” and meeting their needs

CampusESP arrived on campus at Santa Clara not long after Steven Ponce did.

The university’s new and first Director of Parent and Family Communication & Engagement, Ponce had seen CampusESP in action at previous institutions like Gonzaga. As he looked at the goals Santa Clara had and the kind of program he wanted to build, he knew clear and consistent communication needed to be at the core of his strategy.

“I came here already a big fan of the product,” Ponce shared. “This is a new role and we were aware that parents and families were not receiving communication in a way that matched their preferences. So now I’m five months in, building the strategy as we go, and trying to address those concerns early on.”

Prior to Ponce’s position being established, family communications were quite siloed, with each constituent sending emails to the families of the students in their programs. Parents and families loved hearing about the curriculum and events pertaining to their student’s academic path but were missing a lot of core content.

“The feedback received was that these were great stories and highlights, but there was no actionable information on how to support their students,” said Ponce. “Our parents and families felt disconnected and out of the loop. They were missing out on crucial conversations, sharing that they were unaware of the support resources available, and some admitting that they didn’t know how to communicate with their college-aged students. I want to create a program that addresses these concerns and allows this community to engage with the university and their student as much as they want to.”

Work smarter not harder to scale family engagement

Ponce jumped in feet first, starting a more manually built email newsletter while he was taking steps to bring CampusESP to SCU. It was time-consuming — taking about 15 hours to pull together each edition — but was a first step to getting content about everything from course registration and housing to mental health resources to families.

But as a team of one, it wasn’t sustainable. The biggest win Ponce saw with implementing CampusESP? Scalability.

Ponce mentioned that “using CampusESP allows him to send more regular updates and share information tailored to individual interests”. It also offers him a “more effective solution to send timely announcements without concerns about social media algorithms and email filters affecting visibility”. Partnering with CampusESP will “increase the university's capacity to share information and speed up the process of reaching our families.”

With CampusESP for Family Engagement, Santa Clara will be able to easily share reminders, news, and important updates, ensuring that parents have access to the right information and will be better equipped to advise their students, strengthening their support system, and helping them remain successful and on the path to graduation.

Ponce wants to meet his families where they are. As a university in the midst of getting its Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI) designation, Ponce has been cognisant of how to enhance communication with Spanish-speaking and Hispanic families. Seeing in research that Hispanic families prefer text message communications, he added the CampusESP SMS module to offer alerts and reminders via families’ phones.

“We’re so excited to welcome Santa Clara University as Customer 400” said Dave Becker, CEO and co-founder of CampusESP. “We’re seeing more and more institutions not only recognize that family engagement needs to be a part of their strategy, but that they need expert advice and a comprehensive tool to do it well. We’re honored to be a part of so many institutions' plans to connect with families to enable student success.”

“Families are the people our students go to at a moment’s notice,” said Ponce. “When faced with uncertainty, they call mom, dad, or another family member and ask for help. I want to provide them with the information they need to feel confident in guiding their students. We leverage our parents as partners to communicate campus resources to their students, and CampusESP is going to be a huge part of helping us do that, and do it well.”


Melissa Greiner, Vice President of Marketing, 484-744-1843

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Melissa Greiner, Vice President of Marketing, 484-744-1843