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AT23: Takeaways From Our First Anthology Together Conference

AT23: Takeaways From Our First Anthology Together Conference
Quick Takeaways: 
  • To get more engaged, it’s important for general student body members to connect with both involved student leaders and faculty and staff members who host involvement activities. 
  • Co-curricular engagement is connected to student success.
  • Students want instantaneous communication and immediate answers to their questions.
  • It's important for institutions to share content through creative outlets to combat competing social media algorithms.
  • To effectively support students, institutions must embrace new technology that breaks down institutional silos. 
  • Student data and AI play a significant role in institution-wide initiatives, such as innovating the student learning and engagement



Last month, we flew to Nashville, TN to attend Anthology Together 2023, an annual conference that celebrates the thousands of higher ed professionals who utilize Anthology’s products to advance their initiatives. It’s an extraordinary multi-day gathering of minds, hearts, and visions within the higher ed community. 

As recent mobile partners with Anthology Engage, and newcomers to this vibrant community of campus leaders, we approached the conference with a readiness to gain new insights and forge meaningful connections with Anthology community members. Three days later, we left feeling inspired and eager to reflect on our transformative takeaways, outlined below. Keep reading to discover what we learned at Anthology Together 2023.

And before we get into it, to all who work in student affairs and higher ed — thank you for what you do every day to support students! Our team appreciates your continued effort to drive student engagement, belonging, and success. 



📸 Our CEO, Andrew Strause (left), and our Chief of Staff, Nicole Kochanasz (right), with Jessica Duval (middle), Product Manager for Anthology Engage


1. Innovative ways to engage on campus 💡

One of the most impactful parts of Anthology Together was hearing the revolutionary ways that student affairs professionals are using Anthology Engage to boost student involvement. 

In the “10 Years of Engaging, Educating, Empowering Student Organizations” session, we learned how Auburn University integrated Anthology Engage into their campus culture to increase student engagement: 

  • They recognized the need for their general student body to connect with both involved student leaders and faculty and staff members who host involvement activities. 

  • To accomplish this need for involvement support, they utilized student leaders called “Involvement Ambassadors” and invited departments to host pages on Engage.

  • They found that being an involved student was correlated with a higher GPA than non-involved students, emphasizing the notion that co-curricular engagement is connected to student success.  

Another session, “Knowledge is Power: Going Beyond Training Requirements to Provide Continuous Education,” displayed the power of Anthology Engage in opening communication and providing important information to Wright University students.

  • They highlighted the importance for institutions to share content through creative outlets to combat competing social media algorithms and students complaining about too many emails. 

  • They provided a step-by-step guide to creating a library of resources for student organization leaders who ask the same questions about organization management. 

  • One of their areas of success has been using Engage’s “News” feature, which they called their favorite underutilized tool on Engage, to relay information to students.

These sessions opened our eyes to the creative ways campus leaders are using Anthology Engage to guide students during their undergraduate journeys, from making them aware of co-curricular opportunities to influencing them to take action on those opportunities.


2. How to engage Gen Z in a post-pandemic era 📱

We know Gen Z students faced unprecedented challenges during the pandemic, from remote learning to mental health concerns. To effectively support them, we must embrace digital platforms for connection, learning, and engagement. 

During the “Digital Transformation Client Panel and Fireside Chat,” several higher ed professionals sat down to discuss the changing landscape of education post-pandemic, and how to reach students amid the change. 

  • One panelist shared that students are using Uber and other platforms on their phone, but as soon as they walk through the doors of their institution, it’s like they jump back in time due to the lack of modern tech in high ed. 

  • The panelist emphasized that institutions need to be more open to adapting new technology as a way to provide students with more advanced methods of learning and engaging. 

The need for institutions to embrace new technology was echoed in the “Anthology Chatbot: Designed to Support Students across Kentucky” session. 

  • The Kentucky Community & Technical College System wanted to utilize new technology to service their Gen Z learners, knowing that their students wanted instantaneous communication and immediate answers to their questions. 

  • As a solution, they created a chatbot that intuitively guides students to the resources they need through short responses and live agent handoff. 

  • The chatbot even integrated with their other campus tools for increased adoption and usage. 

Campus leaders from Northern Alberta Institute of Technology also described how they adapted to student exhaustion post-covid by finding resourceful ways to incentivize student involvement and leadership in their session, “The Path to Hybrid Student Leader Training.” 

  • They started by providing more asynchronous resources, such as video tutorials, training through Engage “Paths,” and a virtual student org handbook to reduce students’ perceived barrier to involvement. 

  • However, their students needed a clear understanding of how they’d benefit from the investment of their time and energy. 

  • They found success through providing giveaways, such as kickstarter funds and badges, to reward organizations that completed student leader training. 

Each of these conversations taught us the importance of listening and adapting to the needs of students, especially as their needs change and develop post-pandemic.


3. Cultivating resilience 💪

In the realm of student affairs, challenges are inevitable. However, Anthology Together showed us the strength that comes from facing adversity head-on.

Through panel discussions and personal anecdotes, we learned various resilience-building techniques. We learned that self-care is not selfish; it’s the foundation upon which we can better serve our students. The focus on mental health and well-being emphasized that only when we nurture our own selves can we truly support the holistic development of our students.

In her Keynote Address, Alison Levine, Team Captain of the first American Women’s Everest Expedition, shared her life lessons of leading a team through extreme environments. 

  • She shared that in extreme situations, no one goes at it alone – we are all responsible for one another. 

  • Each of us must feel responsible for those around us and we should constantly consider how our actions or inactions affect others. 

  • She also warned about the danger of inaction, saying “complacency will kill you.”

We heard a similar warning against complacency in the “Getting the Band Together: A Panel of Change Agents & Integrators'' session. 

  • The panelists touched on the idea that higher ed professionals build resilience by embracing collaboration and technological innovation. 

  • One panelist encouraged the need to break down the silos within institutions through the use of new technology that serves the needs of each silo collectively. 

  • The panelist shared that the institutions that resist technological change will struggle.

We walked away from these discussions with a better understanding of the importance of community and collaboration in tackling challenges in higher ed. 


4. Vision for the future 📊

A final key takeaway was the significant role that data and AI play in institution-wide initiatives, such as connecting campus collaborators, measuring the success of programs, and innovating the student learning and engagement experience. 

Members of the University of Kentucky discussed the power of data in connecting campus collaborators through their session, “Engage Campus Spotlight: University of Kentucky.” 

  • They described getting over 80 departments to use Engage by sharing important student analytics gathered by the platform to various campus stakeholders. 

  • In the process, they found that if students attend 5 or more events, they’re retained by the institution at a higher rate. 

Similarly, MK Tyler from the University of Memphis discussed how to craft tangible data statements to explain the value of student engagement efforts in her session, “Using Data to Tell Your Student Engagement Story.” 

  • MK outlined the type of data that the Student Leadership and Involvement Office is usually asked for, such as events, attendees, org numbers, and org leadership. 

  • She then explained how to use this data to make powerful statements about the involvement office’s impact. For instance, the data can be used to explain how registered student org numbers have changed year-over-year, how student involvement impacts GPA and student success, or what type of information visitors to Memphis’ Engage system, TigerZone, are seeking. 

  • The University of Memphis’ use of data to clearly communicate the success of the Student Leadership and Involvement Office has resulted in strong buy-in for Engage across campus, as well as approval to expand their initiatives with Navengage’s mobile app, which integrates with Anthology Engage

Lastly, we heard Anthology’s vision for using artificial intelligence to innovate their current learning and engagement products during the “Anthology Corporate Keynote and Product Vision” session.

Anthology plans to use AI to:

  • Help students track their progress toward competencies required for their desired career path
  • Access student analytics to flag risk factors along their trajectory to graduation
  • Make intelligent recommendations for engagement-related content based on the student’s interests in Engage

These sessions highlighted that the present and future of higher ed advancement is rooted in data and artificial intelligence.


Closing Thoughts 💬

Our first-time experience at Anthology Together 2023 was nothing short of extraordinary. Overall, the conference provided a platform for unheard voices to take center stage and exemplified the dedication of student affairs professionals in amplifying their efforts of serving students. The conference reaffirmed our company's commitment to fostering an inclusive and welcoming environment for all students through modern technology. 

To learn more about our mobile app and how it integrates with Anthology Engage, click here.


📸 Andrew Strause (left) and Nicole Kochanasz (right) at Anthology Together 23


👋 About the Authors: Nicole Kochanasz and Andrew Strause

Nicole and Andrew are the Chief of Staff and CEO of Navengage, respectively. They work hands-on with new clients for the Anthology and Navengage Partnership, which integrates Navengage's mobile experience with Anthology Engage. They are passionate advocates for co-curricular student learning and have dedicated their careers to supporting the growth and development of students in higher education. 


📱 About Navengage

Navengage Inc. delivers leading-edge, mobile-first student engagement software that helps higher ed institutions increase student engagement and boost retention. We aim to advance student engagement technology so that colleges and universities have comprehensive, accurate, and readily available data for decision making. We are committed to engaging today's students with tomorrow's cutting-edge education technology and envision a world where every student has the opportunity to safely and successfully pursue their education. Learn more by visiting

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