Programming cost may not be worth it

Tyler Norris

Many students don’t attend campus events

It took more than a few decks of cards to organize a student euchre tournament, said Kevin Pospichel, student co-manager for Kent Student Center Programming.

“We had this grand vision; we were going to get 50 people downstairs (in the Student Center),” Pospichel said. “We were going to have this huge euchre tournament with a huge prize.”

Pospichel printed and distributed hundreds of fliers. He pleaded with the Student Center manager on multiple occasions for clearance to sponsor the tournament. The manager thought the idea of the tournament was too similar to gambling.

Then he finally got enough friends and presented a good enough argument that he was cleared to hold his tournament.

“The night of it came, and it was four employees playing euchre,” Pospichel said.

Pospichel’s euchre tournament is one of many stories that follow the same pattern. Organizations plan events on campus to entertain, inform and educate students. All too often, students don’t show up.

Students are busy

Junior biology major Garrett Hack walks to class every day. Along the way, he notices oversized posters for events that interest him. He reads the chalk advertisements on the sidewalk, and he notices the table tent advertisements when he eats in the Hub.

He hasn’t been to any on-campus activities this semester.

“It’s not a dislike for any of the events,” Hack said. “I just kind of do those things as time permits.”

Demitrious Young, sophomore business marketing major, likes on-campus events. He went to Octoberfest in the Student Center Ballroom last month. It’s one of the only events he has been able to go to this semester.

“When I’m not doing anything, can’t work (and) don’t feel like studying, I go to events,” Young said. “I like spending my time making money.”

Young works at Eastway Market. He always prioritizes work over recreational activities, he said.

Freshman nursing major Mitchell Lorenz also puts work ahead of play.

“I’m not interested or don’t have time,” Lorenz said. “I’m not here very many weekends.”

He works at a job near his parents’ house most weekends. He said he usually doesn’t hear about activities that are interesting to him.

Most students and activity programmers are in agreement. Whether students are busy working, studying or being with family, they don’t have the free time they used to.

Judy Ripple, senior business manager of the Center for Student Involvement, said she thinks students are just busier compared to previous years.

Allison Krupko is a junior who juggles speech pathology and psychology majors and also runs for the cross-country team.

Her schedule doesn’t leave much time for family. Any recreational time is devoted to being at home. Campus programming doesn’t fit into her schedule, Krupko said.

“Most of my time is spent either at practice or doing homework or just sleeping,” Krupko said.

Sleep is becoming more valuable to a lot of students.

“I know that most of these events aren’t very strenuous,” Hack said. “I think it’s just one of those things that when you’re tired, you’re just conditioned to want to lie down and rest.”

Advertising to students

Kati Campbell, manager of the Music Listening Center, takes many long walks around campus to distribute flyers. In her work at KSC Programming, she is responsible for keeping advertisements current. Other parts of her communication activities include scheduling table-tent rotation in the Student Center and creating PowerPoint slideshows for TV 10. TV 10 is a local channel that loops free advertisements for local businesses and events.

Even though Campbell tries to make her posters visible all over campus, students like Kasey Fahey are still unreachable.

“Most of the time I don’t really know about stuff,” said Fahey, a sophomore public relations major. “Unless stuff (advertisements) is just right there, we don’t see it and don’t know about it.”

Fahey’s only source for campus events is the bulletin board in front of the elevator in her residence hall.

Some printed advertisements can be cost-effective. Hot cards are 4-inch-by-5-inch postcards that programmers attach to bulletin boards and lay on tables around campus. Programmers can pay as little as $100 for 5,000 hot cards, Keslar said. Larger prints like 8.5-inch-by-11-inch color posters cost 44 cents, and 11-inch-by-17-inch color prints cost 80 cents at Campus Copy Connection.

Printed advertisements can get expensive, especially when students don’t even notice them, Fahey said.

Fahey and her friends are part of a large group of students who think advertising for campus activities needs to shift online.

Nikole Keslar, director of business and finance for Undergraduate Student Government, has caught on to the benefits of online marketing and recommends Facebook as a cheap and proven tool to drive advertising messages for Kent State activities.

Many students said advertising online can be effective beyond Facebook within the Kent State domain.

“They could post more (activities) on FlashLine and Vista,” Young said. “People go on Vista to do their work, and that’s something they haven’t done yet.”

Some old-fashioned advertising techniques still drive attendance to on-campus activates.

Becky Schlegel, freshman middle childhood education major, said she knows about the online campus event calendar, but she doesn’t use it. Her primary source for finding activities around campus: sidewalk drawings.

“There’s always something different,” Schlegel said. “And they do something with it to make it pop.”

Ashleigh Newberry, vice president of programming of Kent Interhall Council, used sidewalk chalk to promote Sex Week last month.

The chalk signs are effective, but it takes so much time, manpower and chalk to create the drawings. Other factors like rain also make chalk advertisements an unviable option for many events, said Newberry.

The Allocation Committee process

The money for many campus events comes from a very personal spot for students – their pockets. All full-time Kent State students pay a Student Activities Fee of $19.20 per semester. The fee varies by semester but has been consistent since Fall 2007, Ripple said. Students who live in residence halls pay a second fee of $16 for activities sponsored by Kent Interhall Council and their personal residence hall.

A portion of every student’s fee, 54 percent, is put into a sum of money that is distributed to student organizations at the liberty of the Undergraduate Student Government Allocation Committee. The committee appoints members through an application process every semester.

Then 42.25 percent of the money goes to Undergraduate Student Government programming like the Broken Lizard comedy show earlier this semester, according to USG guidelines.

Keslar oversees the 10-member Allocation Committee that distributes the majority of the activity fee.

“I ask (committee members) to look at it from a perspective of the undergraduate student body, and not just one person’s opinion,” Keslar said. “We look for what will benefit the student body the best.”

Any student organization that doesn’t receive funding can come to the committee with an event proposal. If the committee thinks the event will benefit and attract a part of the student body, they give the organization up to $1,000 and suggest best practices for spending the money, Keslar said.

The Allocation Committee sets guidelines that determine who can receive the fund and how they can spend it. Committee members’ personal judgment is the only preliminary measure that determines if students will attend an event.

“Groups haven’t come to us asking for the funding,” Keslar said. “I think students are just kind of running out of time.”

She suspects busy students’ schedules have stopped students from planning events.

Contact on-campus entertainment reporter Tyler Norris at [email protected]