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Tripepi Smith Partners with California State University San Marcos on Social Mobility Brochure

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California State University San MarcosCalifornia State University San Marcos (CSUSM), ranked first in the nation in social mobility, engaged Tripepi Smith to create a print and digital brochure to not only showcase the institution’s positive impact on the socioeconomic status and wellbeing of its students but also ignite the university’s inaugural fundraising efforts for their trailblazing social mobility initiative. CSUSM and Tripepi Smith previously partnered on a suite of advocacy materials for the university’s Integrated Science and Engineering Building.

Over six months, Tripepi Smith provided research, strategic content development and production management for the social mobility case statement. Principal Katherine Griffiths developed the written content and Creative Director Kevin Bostwick designed the layout. 

Griffiths undertook comprehensive research on social mobility, conducting in-depth interviews with CSUSM stakeholders including industry partners, foundation board members, administrators, students and faculty. Each conversation, tailored to the specific audience, elicited insight on what social mobility means to the community, how social mobility adds value to the university and the surrounding region and the role of philanthropy in enhancing opportunity.

“Social mobility is defined as the movement of individuals from one socioeconomic class to another; CSUSM believes that social mobility is an essential part of its mission and model for student success,” said Griffiths. “I am honored that CSUSM chose Tripepi Smith to give voice and shape to an initiative that is advancing a national dialogue on how higher education can unlock opportunities and change lives.”

With social mobility being a relatively new, esoteric concept among colleges and universities, the brochure begins by defining the phrase in a way that resonates with CSUSM’s constituents. The content highlights the university’s important accomplishments in social mobility—including a first-place ranking among more than 1,400 schools in CollegeNET’s Social Mobility Index in November 2022—and projects how the university will continue to advance and evolve resources to support students of all backgrounds. In addition to demonstrating the breadth of opportunities for philanthropic support within the framework of CSUSM’s signature Cougar Success Life Cycle, the brochure features a variety of student stories, showcasing social mobility in action at the university.

“President Ellen Neufeldt’s transformative leadership in social mobility and commitment to providing access to higher education is making a significant impact on the lives of our students and the broader community,” said Jessica Berger, vice president of university advancement and executive director of the CSUSM Foundation. “Philanthropic support is vital to expanding our efforts to ensure that all students can succeed and attain their full potential through social mobility initiatives.”

The design of the brochure, available in print and digital versions, is rooted in CSUSM’s style guide. Photos of students in action reinforce how the university prepares its graduates to launch careers in high-demand fields while infographics illustrate student demographics and key rankings related to social mobility. Bostwick created a two-page, Cougar Success Life Cycle diagram that follows students’ path from home to campus to workforce and details the university’s seamless, equitable and effective support model.

Bostwick also converted the content into an all-encompassing PowerPoint presentation from which the CSUSM advancement staff can create smaller, more targeted presentations. While the initial Cougar Success Life Cycle graphic in the main content is static, he animated an in-depth walk-through as an appendix. The animated graphic features eight clicks that illustrate the various steps of students’ experience from recruitment to enrollment to graduation.

“At 55 slides, the presentation breaks the 10-20-30 rule (no more than 10 slides, no longer than 20 minutes, fonts no lower than 30 points in size),” he said, “but the primary content, 34 slides, covers the brochure’s central messaging. I added appendices for the student success stories, immediate impact opportunities and Cougar Success Life Cycle.”

The brochure deputed at the inaugural Blue & Silver Fundraising Dinner, which brought in over $1 million for student success and social mobility programs and initiatives. The evening was capped with a raise-the-paddle segment, magnified by the announcement of two milestones: a generous one-to-one matching contribution and the largest planned gift in the history of the university.

“We really appreciate Tripepi Smith’s partnership and outstanding work together toward the best (perhaps only?!) social mobility case statement out there,” said Berger. 

About California State University San Marcos (CSUSM)

Building on an innovative 30-year history, California State University San Marcos is a forward-focused institution, dedicated to preparing future leaders, building great communities and solving critical issues. Located on a 304-acre hillside overlooking the city of San Marcos, the University is just a short distance from some of Southern California’s best beaches and an hour from the U.S.-Mexico border. CSUSM enrollment is over 16,000 and the university is fully accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

About Tripepi Smith

Tripepi Smith is a marketing, technology and public affairs firm based in Orange County, CA. Its clients include for-profit, nonprofit and public agencies throughout the state of California. The firm’s unique mix of marketing and technology prowess provides a competitive advantage for organizations seeking to leverage the Internet to achieve their communication goals. Tripepi Smith provides full content creation services, including: ghostwriting, collateral development, photography, video production, search engine optimization, email marketing, crisis communications, social media management and website design and execution. Tripepi Smith clients include: City of Santa AnaCity of Culver CityCity of Rolling Hills EstatesCity of TracyCity of Santa CruzCity of SnoqualmieCity of CupertinoCity of Daly CityCity of La Cañada FlintridgeCity of ParamountCity of Huntington BeachCity of El CerritoCity of Indian WellsCity of Yuba CitySanta Clara County Fire DepartmentIndustry Business CouncilNHA AdvisorsCalChoiceCalifornia Joint Powers Insurance AuthorityRowland Water DistrictCalifornia Contract Cities AssociationCalifornia City Management FoundationLeague of California CitiesInstitute for Local GovernmentRenne Public Law GroupInland Empire Utilities Agency and Climatec Energy Services.