Utah Fresh Website Simplifies U First-Year Experience


Xiangyao Tang

The University of Utah campus in Salt Lake City, Utah on Oct. 5, 2021. (Photo by Xiangyao “Axe” Tang | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Caelan Roberts, News Editor


For many high school seniors, the most intimidating part about preparing for college is the slew of deadlines, various fees and simply the sheer amount of information needed to start their college career. This is why University Marketing & Communications at the University of Utah has created the Utah Fresh website.

Scott Troxel, director of digital strategy at UMC, said the website was designed to “bring together some resources that students, especially first-year students, have to go out and find on their own as they’re beginning their journey at the U.”

The site has a new student checklist, a live chat feature and links to various departments across the U that have partnered with Utah Fresh including The MUSS and Arts Pass. There are also several key dates highlighted that incoming students to the U need to know.

Though the website contains many of the resources incoming students will need, Troxel said rather than generating new content, the website acts more like “a directory for new first-year students” of all the existing resources at the U.

“We designed it as kind of a one-stop shop for new students, and our intent is to continue to build so that it can have resources for all students on campus,” Troxel said.

Rebecca Walsh, communications director, said the idea for the website was born at President Taylor Randall’s inauguration when he spoke about finding new and better ways to engage with students.

“We’re always thinking about how to make the student experience better, how to improve access, how to make it easier for students to figure out higher education,” Walsh said.

Troxel added that because there’s so much information to navigate, there is often frustration with “figuring out where stuff is” at the U and other higher education institutions.

“There’s just a lot of information,” Troxel said. “We’re a massive, massive organization with millions of pages of information. That’s not a fun task for anyone to have to wade through.”

As someone who works at the college, Walsh had a unique perspective in attempting to navigate the first-year experience with her son, but she still found it difficult to help him apply to the U.

“There are so many different deadlines,” she said. “I’m a university employee, so I’m more steeped in this probably than the average parent or the average student, so I already have an advantage. I can only imagine how difficult this may be for someone who is not familiar with the University of Utah.”

Walsh added first generation and underrepresented students might have an even harder time sorting through everything, as they are less familiar with higher education in general.

“We want to improve access for underrepresented students and their families,” she said. “And this is a really intimidating place if you have never been here and never worked through these systems. So this is one more step to improve access for all students.”

Troxel said the website launched in January, right around when students were finding out if they were accepted to the U.

“This place is the hub that these new students can come to and then jump quickly to that information as opposed to having to go to Google or the university’s search engines to try and find that information,” he said. “It’s all here at Utah Fresh.”

Walsh added that higher education is complicated, and the goal of Utah Fresh is to continually simplify it in order to “get people the information they need so that they have access to our campus and all the incredible things that are here.” 


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