URI-developed mobile app, Rhody Connect, wins national award

KINGSTON, R.I.— Aug. 5, 2021 — The University of Rhode Island’s innovative Rhody Connect mobile app received a second-place award for Best App for Recruiting and Admission for its Rhode to Becoming a Ram app module. Designed in-house at URI for use by admitted students, the module was selected by Modo Labs as part of its 2021 Appademy Awards honoring colleges and universities for exemplary digital experiences through mobile applications.

According to Modo, its fourth annual awards emphasized the ways in which institutions of higher education evolved to address the role mobile and the campus apps play in the COVID-era, in helping to foster a sense of community while many students are off campus.

“The Rhody Connect app and the Rhode to Becoming a Ram website helped us facilitate a seamless and welcoming introduction to URI for our newest Rams,” said Cynthia L. Bonn, URI’s dean of admission. “During a time when in-person contact was restricted, we were able to make personal connections and provide assistance virtually to meet the needs of our students.” 

The Rhody Connect app, first launched in August 2020, was a key element in safely welcoming URI students back to campus last fall, providing access to #rhodytogether support and study space availability, as well as daily self-assessment reminders that automatically triggered upon arrival to campus.

In March 2021, URI developed and launched the winning New Student Persona and Rhode to Becoming a Ram app modules as companions to both the Rhode to Becoming a Ram website, a cross-divisional and outcomes-based resource serving all of URI’s incoming students, and the previously launched Rhody Connect app.

The University first created a website for all of the information, and then developed the companion app and additional modules, which worked seamlessly with the website. The app also included features for students visiting campus, such as a notification with links to the daily self-assessment form that displayed upon arrival to campus, real-time shuttle location information, an interactive campus map with wayfinding to guide them to their desired location, current dining options and menus, and a self-guided tour podcast to accompany families as they explored campus.

URI’s Chief Information Officer Karlis Kaugars said, “I am incredibly proud of the work that IT’s Catherine White and all of the cross-divisional members of the team did to make Rhody Connect the tremendous success it has become.  From project pitch meetings to development and implementation, the team has worked incredibly well together and all richly deserve this award. It vividly demonstrates what we can achieve by working collaboratively across traditional divisional boundaries.”

Rhody Connect is available for download on the Apple App Store or Google Play Store. When setting up the app, be sure to allow for push notifications to receive important University news and information.