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University Center lacks definite location for student advertising

December 14, 2006

While the new University Center boasts a vastly different design from the current Student Center, even small-scale aesthetic changes will be evident when the facility opens in January.

For many years, student organizations have been reliant on banners, posters and table tents to promote events and recruit members. Yet while many students know right where to look for that information in the Student Center, those advertisements are without a home in the new facility.

“With the Student Center being a common place for different types of students to congregate, it is an excellent place for advertisements on current activities or for recruitment for different organizations,” Alpha Gamma Rho President Adam Spierings said.

Though these things will not be restricted altogether in the new facility, Student Life Facilities Director Mike Stifter said he, with input from students, will be looking to improve upon these tactics in the first few months of spring semester.

Because the building is new and most students have not yet had a chance to see what lies inside, Stifter said that it cannot be determined where the hanging of posters will be most effective.

“Once you let people in, that’s where the dynamic begins,” he said.

Stifter said it is pointless to set aside certain spaces for such advertising without a better sense of where students will congregate.

“We could sit and guess where everyone’s going to go,” he said. “Instead, we’d like to wait and find out.”

By observing students in the new building to determine where to devote space for organizations to advertise, Stifter said the University Center will be more effective than the Student Center.

“They don’t serve a purpose where they’re at,” Stifter said of the posters hanging in front of the windows on the west side of the Student Center.

Those posters are placed in a hallway that sees a lot of student traffic, which is precisely why advertisements were located there in the first place.

“The inability to hang signs in the new University Center would hinder many organizations on campus from recruiting people to attend their events,” former Alpha Sigma Alpha President Lindsay Woychek said. “The use of this PR tactic allows many students to let the rest of the student body know about events and other things that are going on with their organization.”

But Stifter said this form of promotion is ineffective. Just because many students walk by these posters doesn’t mean they pay attention to them.
“When people are sitting, they take more in,” Stifter said.

It was this logic that was used when determining how to use the benefits of technology to improve promotional efforts for organizations.
“We will have the opportunity to roll out some new technology like Axis TV, which will serve as a more high-tech way of advertising for events,” Stifter said. “The coverage is much greater than currently in either Rodli or Hagestad.”

Most of the spaces for advertisement in the University Center will be set aside strictly for organizations and will be on a first-come, first-serve basis. There will be places for students to post other information, such as the sale of pets and the availability of apartments for sublease.

“There will be bulletin boards by the convenience store, which would be one place for students to get information on what cars are for sale,” Stifter said.
Stifter also said there are many options being considered to replace the current lackluster forms of promotion used by organizations.

One of the things being considered is the improvement of table tents. Stifter said the current table tents result in a lot of waste and crumpled paper. He has been working with Dining Services Director Jerry Waller to come up with solutions to alleviate that problem.

Having three-sided kiosks that would sit atop a napkin and salt and pepper holder was one idea.

The structure of the new University Center also allows for some other possibilities.

“We could utilize the space around the exposed columns,” Stifter said, adding that DePaul University has developed a four-sided kiosk around support columns.

And the possibilities don’t stop there.

In following with restaurant advertising, Stifter said students may see promotion in the bathrooms of the University Center as well.

Whatever may develop in the form of promotion, Stifter said students will have the run of the building. Once the University Center opens and students begin to utilize the space, he will have a better idea of what opportunities will be available.

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