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CCU Atheneum:
"Here when you need us" is the CHANT411 motto.

CHANT411 celebrates first birthday at CCU

by Mona Prufer
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A year ago, April Sager was worried that no one would use CHANT411. A year later, after 7,089 inquiries via text and social media, mostly from students, she doesn’t have to worry about that anymore.

Celebrating its one-year anniversary on June 10, CHANT411 is a central point of contact for students, families, faculty, staff and visitors who need a question answered or some help navigating the Coastal Carolina University system.

“We take the ‘I don’t know’ out of Coastal,” says Sager, associate director of CHANT411. She and her team of one staff member and 12 students work hard to answer questions and then follow up to make sure issues are resolved.

Created as part of President David DeCenzo’s Feel the Teal Customer Service Initiative, CHANT411 is a resource hub that is all about helping people get the information they need. Some CHANT411 inquiries have resulted in positive changes on campus, such as:

• A shuttle stop that a student complained about as being very dark has been brightened by the installation of lights.

• The campus map and building markers are more user-friendly after students complained they couldn’t find the building codes on their schedules.

• Shuttle service to University Place during the summer for summer school students has been added.

“It’s not just a matter of picking up the phone and connecting calls to departments,” Sager says. Responses given out by the CHANT411 crew are audited daily to make sure correct information is being disseminated. Campus rumors are nipped in the bud, and new program information is being shared.

“CHANT411 is communication on the students terms, not ours,” says Sager, explaining that the crew will take over the main information desk in the new Student Union building when it opens. CHANT411 students will wear professional blazers and bowties, depending on the occasion. “It’s all about gaining trust and being credible.”

Credibility was important during two winter storms in February of this year when CHANT411 was included in emergency management communication and received 655 inquiries over a span of six days. The service has also been called upon to respond to students’ concerns regarding University alerts about crimes and criminals.

But fun and games are also a big part of the CHANT411 landscape. Last summer, CHANT411 students on big tricycles handed out water bottles and popsicles to students at Orientation and on Move-In Day. They hand out ponchos when it rains and sing Christmas carols on demand on the phone during the holidays. They hand out “directions and donuts” in the fall and spring when classes first start, and pencils and granola bars during Finals Week.

Students are noticing, using the service, and responding.

“CHANT411 is seriously one of the best ideas Coastal Carolina has ever had,” tweeted Joey Sanders.

“CHANT411 is already my best friend,” tweets Eden Halevy.

Part of the reason for CHANT411’s success is Sager’s obvious passion for her job, her attention to detail and her commitment to hiring only the best and brightest students to work for the service.

“It’s tough working for CHANT411,” says Sager. “It’s a leadership position. I have let people go who put the wrong things out on Twitter. I need critical thinkers. We can’t cut corners.” She is also adamant that her workers be students and not professional staff in order to relate to students' needs and concerns. The CHANT411 workers are from different colleges and are in-state and out-of-state students, traditional and nontraditional students. This diversity allows CHANT411 to offer a wide variety of assistance.

“They all have different experiences that might be useful to help them understand what someone is going through,” Sager says.

 

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