California State Polytechnic University, Humboldt
Recognizing place matters, we asked students how they discover special and favorite places, and we learned they often rely on word of mouth. Prospective and new students that wonder what is there to do at a campus or community, are similar to the questions visitors ask when planning a vacation or trip.
After asking students about places that matter, we discovered many favorites in Humboldt, and we made it easier to find those places that matter by connecting people and places using keywords. During COVID, when staying in the county was a policy, local travel became an opportunity to catalog those favorite locations using Google Maps. Contributing over 3,600 images and 192 reviews to Google Maps resulted in over 16M views in two years, supporting student recruitment and retention, and supporting our rural tourism economy. Making information more readily accessible and metadata useful, such as adding ADA facilities to Google Map reviews has a significant positive impact on Google Search results. By enhancing regional information, we are making Humboldt more visible in a world where search engine bias for big data often directs traffic to urban areas. Presentation shares Discovering Humboldt Project’s methods that are applicable to other campuses.