Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Update on the HUC situation: Save HUC and it's role

You might remember our previous updates on Hebrew Union College and the social media campaign being organized at savehuc.com. Well, some big announcements were made yesterday.

Yesterday, by a vote of 43-5, the Board of Directors of Hebrew Union College decided not to close any of the campuses.

This is a huge win for Judaism between the coasts.

Sources in Cincinnati have named savehuc.com as an important factor in the letter writing campaign that shifted the momentum in the struggle.

A recent article from Cincinnati magazine even called out the site:

With every campus under scrutiny, supporters in all three cities rallied to defend their turf. Students, alumni, and others wrote letters and made phone calls. There were Facebook and Twitter campaigns and a Web site, savehuc.com. Ellenson, the school’s president, received more than 10,000 letters and e-mails from supporters. “I was actually quite pleased how vital people thought HUC was to the life of Reform Judaism in the communities in which we serve,” Ellenson says.

I just want to assess how it was that savehuc.com attracted over 10,000 visitors.
First, how much would a traditional media campaign to reach that many people have cost?

Postage alone would have been $4000.

How much was the savehuc.com campaign? Less than $20.

By using an easy to remember domain name that forwarded to a free wordpress blog, the whole thing probably took all of half an hour to set up. The facebook cause that attracted several hundred people grew organically and directed people back to the site. Additionally, by using Twitter, and connecting with Rabbis and Jewish organizations around the country, the message spread even further.

Word of mouth seems to have played a big part, as a demographic that is not traditionally associated with facebook wrote a fair number of comments on savehuc.com's posts.

Clearly, this issue resonated with a large number of people, who felt compelled to take action. In this case, it seems as though that action had its desired effect.

We'll keep you updated, but for now, I know a lot of people who are breathing a sigh of relief.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Well done and kol hakavod for your efforts. Now comes the really hard work: building and maintaining support for the College and recruiting more students.
Again, yesher koach.