Hosting events is a great way to keep students engaged in campus life throughout the school year. However, the many components that go into organizing these events can oftentimes overwhelm administrators. If a campus does not have a designated student-life centre, locations are likely to vary in order to accommodate the size and scope of the occasion. Because of this inconsistency in location, administrators must make extra efforts to ensure student attendance in order for the event to be successful.
Promoting the Event
For an event to be successful, students must be made aware of what the event is, where it is going to be held, on what day, and what purpose it serves. As previously discussed, students don’t check email, making promotion a challenge. While flyers and posters displayed in high traffic areas around campus are likely to be read by some students, there is no way to ensure that they are effectively relaying this important information to everyone. To host an event that does not get attended is not only a waste of administrator time, but also campus resources when you take into account the cost of speakers, extra custodial services, potential catering, etc. That is why meeting student where they are, on mobile, is crucial for a successful event.
Sending push-notifications to students (either campus-wide, or to select groups), as a means of relaying important event details is one way modern campus’ are increasing student engagement. For example, Southeast Arkansas College increased attendance by 200% at their “lunch and learn” events by simply communicating better with their students through mobile, rather than using the old method of flyers and posters.
Hosting the Event
Once a campus has done all it can to promote an event, it is important that student engagement be quantifiably tracked, which can be done by having students check in to the event. By having a sign in system, administrators are able to see which students are engaging in campus life and can use this data to assess at-risk students. If by mid-year an administrator sees that a student has not attended any events, she/he can then send the student a push notification, encouraging them to attend future events.
While checking students into events can be beneficial to the institution, sign in sheets can be tedious and require a lot of admin-hours to enter and sort through. However, similarly to event-promotion, administrators can leverage mobile technology to make their jobs easier. By printing out a QR code and having students scan in with their campus app, attendance data can be easily collected and assessed, with little to no time wasted.
Another challenge that campus’ without a designated student-life centre face, especially with events that are scheduled to be hosted outside, is bad weather. When events are relocated last-minute, attendance can severely suffer. This is why notifying students of a change in venue in a timely manner is crucial to ensuring the success of these events; highlighting once again why push-notifications can be an invaluable tool for administrators.
Once an event has ended, it is important for administrators to collect feedback from their students. If a survey is too long, or distributed too late after an event, the results become less accurate, making targeted micro-surveys crucial to post-event assessment. By asking students to rate an event, followed by a short one question survey as soon as the event has concluded, administrators are able to collect the most accurate and up-to-date data possible.
While hosting events on campus requires a lot of time and planning, administrators can make their jobs easier by leveraging mobile technology. Whether it be promoting the event, checking students in, or collecting feedback, having a campus app is an invaluable tool that can greatly affect the success of on-campus events, and ultimately encourage student engagement and persistence.