Posted August 3, 2015 by Beth Waltrip 

Marketing Your Union to the Incoming Class

red carpet stock imageThis year, we discovered that all of our first-year students are moving into the residence halls on Wednesday and Thursday before classes start, but none of the welcome weekend activities are scheduled until Friday. We already host a major student organization fair during the weekend but decided to try a new event this year specifically to spotlight the student union services and vendors. We are calling it Union-a-palooza, and we will host it Thursday evening to provide information that the new students may otherwise overlook and to give them something to do their first night besides investigating the downtown clubs.

We have been working with all of the building partners to plan the activities and programs; we’ll market it through orientation and the residence halls as the students move in. The Department of Student Life will coordinate marketing efforts and various activities such as roving artists, a mechanical bull, snacks, etc. Each of the building partners—including the bookstore, campus bank, our copy center, the Undergraduate Student Government office, and our various dining locations—will have some activity in their space. The dining locations will have free samples, and most of the partners will have some sort of raffle or prize giveaway.

Undergraduate Student Government members will act as “greeters” for the event, with a red carpet in the entrance and an awards show-like atmosphere as the students enter. The evening will culminate in a prize drawing in our ballroom so that all of the students can come to one central location for all of the prizes at one time.

We are playing with the idea of doing some sort of passport or punch card to encourage students to visit each location. This is the first time we have tried an event that really markets the facility and services rather than the programs and student organizations, which get a lot of attention during welcome weekend. We have no idea how many students may participate, but as over 3,000 students are in the incoming freshman class, we hope to have at least 300 or more for our inaugural event.

What is your union doing for the start of the semester?
Beth Waltrip

Beth Waltrip is the Associate Director, Student Union Operations at The University of Akron.

Beth is responsible for oversight of the game room, operations, and technology areas, as well as advising Undergraduate Student Government. She received her master’s degree in higher education administration from Florida State University and volunteers with ACUI on the Education Council.


I'm curious how the punch card will play out if you go with it - I've thought about using that concept for a few things here!
Jeff Pelletier
Comment posted 08/03/2015 1:28 PM
Jeff, I'll let you know!
Beth Waltrip
Comment posted 08/19/2015 3:32 PM
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