Xavier University of Louisiana Marketing Team Recognized as 2021 AVA Digital Award Winners and 2020 PRSA NOLA Fleurish Winners

January 28, 2021

New Orleans, La. - Xavier University of Louisiana was recognized internationally and locally this month when the Audio Visual Arts (AVA) Digital Awards, an international marketing and communications competition sponsored and judged by the Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals (AMCP), announced Xavier’s Marketing Team as the winners of several award categories for their implementation of the of the digital One Safe XULA campaign as well as other materials they created throughout 2020. 

The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) New Orleans also recognized Xavier’s Marketing Department at the 2020 PRSA NOLA Fleurish Awards ceremony. The Marketing team received ten 2020 NOLA Fleurish Awards of Excellence and two Awards of Merit. 



Xavier University of Louisiana’s Marketing and Communications Department won awards in several categories for their implementation of the digital One Safe XULA campaign and other materials they created throughout 2020. Beyond earning platinum and gold awards in multiple categories, Xavier’s marketing team also received the AVA 2021 Digital Team Achievement award, which demonstrates the marketing team’s ability to exceed and surpass expectations despite limiting circumstances. 

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Xavier took on the challenge of preparing the community for completing the spring semester entirely online, and then preparing for a return to campus for the fall semester following careful considerations. Though most schools would conduct their fall semester entirely online, Xavier was determined to continue offering students the best education possible despite the circumstances. However, to safeguard against the spread of infection, Xavier’s Marketing Team had to communicate necessary practices to the entire campus community before allowing anyone to return. 

“Our priority was to reach our students where they were, at home. We knew we would need to inform them in order to keep them safe and inspire them in order to keep them motivated. The One Safe XULA campaign served as a way to ensure that the entire Xavier community understood that they are not alone and that Xavier, their home away from home, would return in the fall,” said Patrice Bell, Vice President of Administration and Chief of Staff at Xavier University

Xavier’s Marketing team developed the One Safe XULA campaign to inform the community of best practices, reassure them of our safe return to campus, and also to share positive Xavier news and stories to keep them uplifted during isolated times. The campaign included vibrant, branded infographics, a COVID-19 landing page, feature stories and a series of instructional and inspirational videos featuring Xavierites and University President, Reynold Verret. 

The university was transparent, responsible and strategic in implementing polished messaging which resulted in the development of a new culture at Xavier, where everyone- students, faculty and staff- held each other accountable and remained diligent in enforcing the rules and policies put in place to protect the community.

“Not only did our team earn both platinum and gold awards in multiple categories, we also received the AVA 2021 Digital Awards Team Achievement award, which demonstrates our team’s ability to exceed and surpass expectations despite extremely limiting circumstances,” said Ashley Irvin, Director of Marketing and Communications.

As a result of strategic planning, the university’s overall infection rate remained below two percent for the entire fall semester. The One Safe XULA campaign was seen and shared by more than 50 million people all over the world. The creativity and originality of the campaign garnered the attention of the Center for Disease and Control (CDC), the nation's health protection agency. Xavier’s Vice President of Administration and Chief of Staff, Patrice Bell, and Director of Marketing and Communications, Ashley Irvin, presented the One Safe XULA campaign to more than 1,000 healthcare and higher education professionals as part of an online event hosted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

The AMCP, is an international organization that consists of several thousand production, marketing, communication, advertising, public relations and freelance professionals. PRSA is the principal advocate for industry excellence and ethical conduct and provides members lifelong learning opportunities and leading-edge resources to enhance professional connections and support them at every stage of their career. The AVA Digital Awards recognizes excellence by creative professionals responsible for the planning, concept, direction, design, and production of digital communication in more than 200 categories and PRSA New Orleans recognizes local excellence in PR and marketing.



About Xavier University of Louisiana

Being America’s only historically Black and Catholic University is only the first among many distinctions that have set Xavier University of Louisiana apart for more than nine decades. Despite its relatively small size (3,300 students), Xavier is a nationally recognized leader in the STEM and the health sciences, producing more African American students who graduate from medical schools each year than any other university in the United States. Its College of Pharmacy is among the top producers of African American pharmacists. Its liberal arts-based programs in such areas as art, business, education, psychology, and political science – as well as recent additions in bioinformatics, data science, neuroscience, crime and social justice, and jazz studies – offer students an unbeatable combination of traditional classroom study, hands-on research, service-learning opportunities, and life experiences.

The winning Xavier formula provides students with a well-balanced curriculum and an environment that nurtures their intellect and feeds their souls. For more information about Xavier University of Louisiana, visit us online at www.xula.edu or follow us on Facebook, YouTube, or Twitter @XULA1925. To book interviews and/or to speak with our experts in the field of pharmacy, education, premed, public health, science, technology, math, business, English, communications, and the arts, contact Lance Sumler at (504) 520-5240 or lsumler@xula.edu


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“I’m drawn to Xavier because I believe in the mission. I chose Xavier because I attended Holy Ghost Catholic School when I was young; that school was founded by Mother Katharine Drexel, so I was raised by the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament. I believe social justice reform is still needed, and Xavier represents the uplifting and advancement of people of color."

Faculty & Staff

Xavier University of Louisiana has appointed Ashley Irvin as Director of Marketing and Communications. Irvin joined the institution in March of 2018 and was quickly recognized as a rising leader in the department serving in progressively responsible management roles.

Faculty & Staff
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