Case Study:DHS: Student Exchange and Visitor Program
A Matter of National Security
More than 1 million international students enter the United States each year to pursue their education goals, each of whom must navigate a complex immigration process. In the aftermath of September 11, 2001, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) established the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) within U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to help promote national security by serving as a clearinghouse of information for international students who enter the U.S. to study and for the schools that they attend.
Not Your Everyday Audience
Anyone who has applied for a visa knows that the process can often be confusing. One of SEVP’s responsibilities is to accurately convey complex information about the U.S. international student process, a task that is made ever more difficult by language barriers. In addition to prospective and current international students, SEVP provides information and guidance to U.S. schools that are certified to accept these international students.
Building the Framework
When Adfero joined the SEVP team, one of our first charges was to build, launch and maintain a DHS website that serves as a comprehensive government information hub about the international student process. StudyintheStates.dhs.gov combines an innovative web design with a host of functional features including mobile accessibility, advanced search technology, Google Translate functionality and audience-based navigation. The latter feature helps guide users quickly to the information most pertinent to their needs.
A Wealth of Content
Launching a cutting-edge government website is not easy; but populating the site with fresh, useful, high-quality content is another challenge altogether. The Adfero team produces content daily. This includes various videos and tutorials that provide audiences with step-by-step instructions on how to fill out documents, interactive content and infographics on processes, all of which break down one of the complex processes faced by international students and school officials.
Spreading the Word
The Adfero team uses a variety of traditional and digital strategies to promote Study in the States’ offerings, including management of its Facebook and Twitter accounts, along with a supporting LinkedIn presence for SEVP. We write daily content for the Study in the States blog, which not only dispenses critical information on international student policies, but promotes partner agency programs and opportunities.
To further support SEVP’s messages offline, the team creates a quarterly newsletter delivered to more than 35,000 stakeholders and coordinates SEVP’s participation at more than 50 events each year. Adfero works closely with the agency’s public affairs shop to develop media outreach opportunities that have resulted in positive coverage by international, national, local and trade publications.
An Immeasurable Resource
Study in the States is used by students all over the world, school officials at colleges and universities across the country, programs throughout the government and international student organizations. Through effective messaging, Adfero helps ensure that all stakeholders see a single, unified message about the international student process.