Students often ask me, “What does The Program Board do?” I usually answer them with a brief description of our purpose and a list of events we have recently produced. Freshmen respond by saying, “Wow, that’s awesome, how do I get involved?” Upperclassmen normally say, “Live played the Smith Center! There was a Q&A with cast members of The West Wing! How come I didn’t know about that?”
This tells me two things. One, we’re doing a good job of providing this campus with quality events that students want to attend. The other thing it tells me is that plenty of students don’t know about them. What to do?
Well, we recently completed a semester long study to determine the best practices for promoting our events to the University community. The study, which was conducted by a team of GW marketing students for a marketing research class, included several focus groups, interviews, and surveys of hundreds of GW students. Here in at PB, we’ve spent the last two months analyzing the data and we’re about ready to put our findings to use. Here’s a sneak peek at what we’ve found and what’s being done:
On-campus underclassmen are the most likely group to attend PB events followed by on-campus upperclassmen and off-campus upperclassmen.
This should come as no surprise since nearly all of PB’s advertising is in on-campus locations or in this publication. To remedy this, we will now be advertising at popular off-campus locations and we’ve recently launched a comprehensive new Web site (pb.gwu.edu) with info about upcoming events, getting involved, and much more. Over the next semester, we hope this Web site will be where GW students turn to find out what’s going on in our office and on campus. We’ll also be creating a list serve students can subscribe to for updates.
This spring I proposed creating a “membership has its rewards program” where PB membership cards would be distributed to students and used to track event attendance. PB would then create different award levels based on attendance, like a frequent flier program. Our research indicates that such a program would be well-received by GW students. As such, it is currently being implemented and membership cards will be available this fall.
I was very upset to find that many students have no idea what PB does or how we do it. Think about this: GW funds us with nearly $250,000 a year. Every GW student should know that.
More importantly, every GW student should have a say in how that money is spent and PB is their opportunity to do so. Share your ideas and opinions with us! Visit our office (MC429), call us (4-7313), e-mail us firstname.lastname@example.org. Better yet, I’ll make the following offer to all students: You come up with an idea for an event or program and I’ll come up with the resources you need to make it happen.
The writer is PB executive chair.