In the past, students at the university were able to get questions answered by InformaBull, an information service run by the university. Now, the program has been discontinued and students will have to find their answers elsewhere.
On July 22, InformaBull’s Facebook page, which garnered more than 7,200 likes, posted a status stating its discontinuation: “Thank you for letting us assist you with your questions over the past two years. Unfortunately, we no longer have the resources to keep this page going.”
Renee Svec, director of communications and marketing for Student Affairs, said the page helped eliminate confusion for students, who would sometimes be sent walking around campus to various offices to get their questions answered.
“We wanted to eliminate the USF shuffle,” Svec said.
Costing the Office of Student Success a multi-year budget of $122,000, Svec said the Facebook page was operational since April 2011. The idea for the page was formed when former Dean for Students Kevin Banks and Vice Provost for Student Success Paul Dosal wanted to find a virtual solution to answering student questions. A similar idea had already been executed by Hillsborough Community College, which had a Facebook page operated by Visual Alliance Media, a local social media company.
Visual Alliance was sought after to make a Facebook page for USF, Svec said. The company provided a community manager who monitored the page and responded to student questions. Since April 2011, the university paid Visual Alliance $109,150 for set up and monitoring. Svec said the reason for the discontinuation was a lack of volume in student questions, receiving maybe a “handful of questions every month.”
In a time of budget cuts, Svec said the Office of Student Success decided to reallocate its limited resources to where they would be better used.
The post on the InformaBull Facebook page tells students to get their questions answered by the main USF Facebook page. Jenna Withrow, digital marketing coordinator for USF, monitors the university’s social media, with a Facebook page of more than 100,000 likes, and accounts on YouTube, Twitter, Tumblr, LinkedIn, Foursquare, Vine and Pinterest.
— Reporting by Cody Wiggins