UNC Charlotte’s University Transition Opportunities Program (UTOP) provides incoming first year students with an opportunity to begin their college experience early, earning seven credit hours over the summer while building a support system of peers and staff across campus. While typically an on-campus program supported by digital technology, the Summer 2020 program was moved to an all-virtual experience for the first time in UTOP history as a result of the global pandemic of 2020.

As the program’s director shifted to this new format, the university used Raftr as a primary delivery mechanism for the program, sharing valuable information, event schedules, and student checklists, while forging social connections through live chat, shared video sessions links, and more.

Rich Content

Leveraging Raftr’s rich content tools, such as guides, campus maps, and checklists, UNC Charlotte’s UTOP program distributed key information for student success.

Small Groups

Incoming students were connected through the platform to staff, faculty, peer leaders, and peers to build a support network from Day 1.

Social Experiences

Students were assigned to small groups to further facilitate connection, and these groups used Raftr to coordinate virtual meetings, chat in real time, and share resources.

“Introducing an app to our program in 2017 was one of the best moves we’ve made in recent years, but I was still looking for something that would allow us to be a lot more interactive with our program participants and a much more robust messaging system.

Raftr was able to give us what we were looking for, plus more!”

Shawn Simmons

Assistant Director, Office of Academic Diversity and Inclusion
UTOP Program Director


UTOP program users (students, faculty, and staff)



user sessions



hours communicating and gathering information



group and direct messages

By combining powerful, direct tools for sharing important information with a robust communication platform, UNC Charlotte’s UTOP program has been able to create an active community for its first year students.

The single resource for communication, event planning, and student success materials provided a hub for the program that students could access any time for immediate, real-time support, leading to a more connected and more successful start to their academic and social experience at UNC Charlotte.

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