November 19, 2008

Alternative Spring Break

Posted in Activists, Kent State University, Student Organization at 3:30 pm by cdziak

Fall semester is quickly coming to an end and when spring semester approaches, all students will have one thing on their mind: Spring Break. I was never one who really had a spring break experience because it never really appealed to me. My freshman year I went home, sophomore year I went to Disney World – which was a blast, junior year I headed to Hilton Head and my senior year, I went home again.  Spring break seems like a ritual when you come to college and everyone looks forward to it.  For those students who want to enjoy their spring break and volunteer their time, Kent State is offering their alternative spring break.

Kent State’s Alternative Spring Break

Kent State United for the Gulf Coast had a large ad in the Daily Kent Stater with informational meetings coming up. Although their website is not up-to-date, it does provide information for students and faculty to look at from past trips. There are volunteer blogs, podcasts, and an essay.  After coming across the ad, I went to the website to see if there was more information about the spring trip but there was not.  The ad did provide meeting dates and times and I’m hoping that after the informational meetings are held, the trip information will be posted on the website.

Alternative Spring Break

Break Away‘s mission is to train, assist, and connect campuses and communities in promoting quality break programs that inspire lifelong active citizenship.  Break Away is just one of many organizations that provide alternative spring break options for students.  Alternative Spring Break trips have been around for a while, but The Case Foundation have found that these trips have been on the rise the past couple of years.  Alternative spring breaks see like a great way for students to build their resume, gain leadership skills and to be selfless for a week.

In today’s world, teenagers and college students seem to be so consumed with material items that they forget what is important in life.  The economy is in such bad shape, people are losing their retirement funds and the Gulf Coast is still a disaster from Hurricane Katrina three years ago. Only a limited number of students can attend  the alternative spring break though Kent State but students can attend a trip through another organization. Check out United Way, Spring Break Alternative, or the Student Conservation Association for more opportunities. I think students really need to take advantage of such a great opportunity and learn to be selfless for a week and be an activist.

I hope that Kent State United for the Gulf Coast gets a good turnout at each of their informational meetings.  With such a huge ad and a website with good information, they seem to be headed in the direction of having another successful alternative spring break trip.  I’m crossing my fingers to go on this trip.

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November 12, 2008

Promote like Crazy

Posted in Kent State University, Student Organization, Uncategorized at 3:42 pm by cdziak

As I was walking through the student the other day, I saw a display with a couple of fliers saying that there was going to be  meeting Wed. Nov 12 for student groups to learn how to promote their organization.  Now, if I didn’t have a prior commitment, I would definitely attend but I have some thoughts.

Why wasn’t this meeting held at the beginning of the semester?

I understand the beginning of the semester is busy for everyone, incoming freshman, returning students and yes, even us grad students.  It seems more ideal that a meeting where organizations can learn how to better promote their organization shouldn’t be in November.  The first semester is almost over.

Not enough promotion?

A recent classmate of mine gave a presentation on fundraising for non-profits. One comment she made about non-profit event promotion was there is no such thing as too much promotion. Probably like many non-profts, the student organizations don’t have a large budget, so they have to be creative in the way they get the word out.  Sometimes the typical flier just won’t do.  Times Square is chock full of promotions going on.

Use the members

The Rock Hall only had 6 weeks to promote the CMJ Music Festival the first year and boy did they promote!  They went to local establishments to hand out guitar pics with the event information, they had fliers, t-shirts, free music download cards. Employees spray chalked sidewalks and walls, they had magnets with the event information on their cars.  I could go on. The point is, employees got excited about the event.

Get excited

If organizations feel that there is a lack of students, get out there and promote like crazy.

  • Use your resources
  • put fliers in different buildings – the library, student center, Eastway Center, the Student Recreation center, different departments.
  • talk to your classes
  • make a Facebook page

As I was searching around the Center for Student Involvement site, there was no sign of this meeting being held.I think it’s great that there is going to be a meeting held for these organizations but I think they would have benefited more from the meeting had it been at the beginning of the semester.

Here’s something to consider, even though it is geared more towards businesses.

November 7, 2008

Change is Coming

Posted in Kent State University, Student Organization, Uncategorized at 5:03 pm by cdziak

President-elect Barack Obama has brought change throughout this election and will bring change with him to the White House.  Now you’re probably thinking, what does me mentioning Barack Obama have to do with public relations and student organizations.  Well, here are my thoughts.

Kent State College Democrats

I don’t even know where to begin.  The College Democrats have had such a strong presence on the Kent campus since I started grad school back in August.  Walking through the student center, the College Democrats always had their table set up handing out information to students.  At Risman Plaza in front of the student center, they were encouraging students to register to vote.  They chalked the sidewalks of campus, they handed out Barack Obama paraphernalia, they did a lot to get students excited and involved.  I felt like there wasn’t a place on campus you couldn’t go without seeing the presence of the College Democrats.

Kent State College Republicans

I wish I could say the same thing about the College Republicans on Kent State’s campus.  I might have seen a table set up once at the student center, but other then that, there was very much a lack of presence by them on campus. Perhaps the students weren’t inspired with the Republican candidate of John McCain or that they were not as organized as the Democrats.  Whatever the reason, as an organization, they need to communicate to the student body that they exist.  One might think that there is no College Republican group on campus because they are never appeared to be around.

Student organizations need to take advantage of all the opportunities they can to get the word out about their group.

Use Your Resources

  • Social Networks – Embrace technology.  Social networking isn’t going anywhere. Use them.
  • Student Media – Get to know the student media and take advantage of Black Squirrel Radio, Kent News Net, and The Daily Kent Stater.  Plenty of chances to get the word out about your organization with student media on campus.
  • Classes – Get to know people in class to help promote events or your organization.  Make announcements about the organization you’re involved with before or after class.
  • E-Mail – Send a mass e-mail to the class.  It can be easily done through flashline but make sure to e-mail yourself and blind carbon copy the class.
  • The Student Center – Set up information tables in the student center about your group.
  • Listservs – Have a listserv to encourage students to sign up with an opt-out option if they change their mind.  I’m on the Catholic Student Association listserv and most of the time I can’t attend any events because I am in class but it is nice to get the e-mail every week to know what is going on.

When I was an undergrad at UNC Greensboro, the first or second week of school, almost every student organization had a tent set up on College Ave. to get information out to new and current students.  For the entire week, each group was outside from about 11 am – 4 pm encouraging students to get involved.

Change is good and if student organizations want to boost their organization’s numbers or just have more of a presence on campus then maybe some of them need to change the way they approach their marketing strategies.  If organizations stay static and don’t embrace change or technology, then they might not get get very far.