“Congratulations on your admission to the University of Oregon! I am a part of the Flight Crew which is a group of current students that are here to help you transition to the University of Oregon. I’m here to answer any questions you might have.”
This year thousands of students received this message after they were admitted to the University of Oregon.
The university implemented a new recruitment strategy to remove barriers between admitted students and administration called the Flight Crew that send texts to the new Ducks.
Keith Frazee, the assistant director for Student Orientation Programs, said this strategy is aimed to connect admitted students with current students to help them transition to life at UO.
“We’re not just using the same old tools we’ve always used, we’re being more agile and more accessible,” Frazee said.
The Flight Crew is comprised of 18 current students that range from freshmen to graduating seniors. Each member was assigned anywhere from 700 to 1,200 admitted students to text.
The texts are sent through a platform called Mongoose, that costs $38,000 annually according to Tobin Klinger, UO spokesman.
Members of the Flight Crew had an app on their phone that they would text the students from and did not use their personal phone number. They could also text students from Mongoose’s online platform.
According to Frazee, one of the main concerns of creating the Flight Crew was bothering the students with excessive messages.
Frazee said he wanted to avoid being “spam-y,” and instead focus on student-to-student connection.
“We didn’t want to spam them,” Frazee said. “If they don’t reply, we don’t try again.”
The response rate from students was approximately 15 percent, which according to Frazee, is “around what I was hoping for.”
Mat Wilson, a junior at UO and member of the Flight Crew, said it helps incoming students have a more personal connection with the university.
Wilson said one of the students he texted said they hadn’t told their parents they applied and he had to help them navigate a difficult conversation with them.
He said during training, he was prepared to answer “typical” questions like ‘how do I accept my admission here?’ and ‘how do I register for Introducktion?’
When it came to helping the student, he said, “you have to stay on your toes on how to respond to them.”
Admitted students were paired with a Flight Crew member based on where they were from.
“An admitted student from Portland was likely to be paired with a Flight Crew member from Portland,” Frazee said.
Frazee said the name, Flight Crew, is an “homage to the Ducks,” and helping students “take flight and get in the air.”
Frazee worked to create the Flight Crew last November and began hiring students last December.
The Flight Crew is a part of the student jobs associated with university ambassadors and the Student Orientation Staff. Frazee said they recruited students from the university ambassador program, SOSers and the and the School of Journalism and Communication to become a part of the flight crew.