Publicity On Campus
Spreading the word about your group or its meetings and events is not always easy. There are some tried-and-true methods that usually work, however, and they are below. Again, figure out what works best for your school.
Posters and Flyers
You've seen these everywhere. These types of signs are a very easy, cheap, and practical way to reach students campus-wide. When designing your posters and fliers, keep these tips in mind:
- Important information (organization name, meeting place, time, etc.) should be bold and easy to read. Use simple fonts and large letters.
- The posters should be eye-catching but not too complicated. The idea is to grab students' attention and quickly convey information as they pass by.
- The colors you choose should be bright to attract attention but not too dark to make the poster's text difficult to read.
Find out if your college or university has regulations about where signs can be posted. Then determine high-traffic areas and some strategic places that will reach a targeted group of students (a poli-sci building, for example). Some more suggestions:
- Hallways and bulletin boards in residence halls and academic departments
- Bathrooms, drinking fountains, and stairwell landings
- Outdoor bulletin boards and other markers
In addition to small posters and fliers, one or two strategically placed banners will help gain students' attention. Banners should also be easy to read. An inexpensive way to create a banner is to use spray paint on a white sheet. Again, make sure to get all necessary permissions or your banner may not be there the next day!
If you've ever set foot on campus you've gotten one of these. Since students can keep these items and consult them as a reference, handouts are a very useful tool. If there is a relevant meeting or event on campus, pass out a flier or brochure to people in attendance, or distribute handouts in high traffic areas on campus. Also distribute handouts to resident assistants or other advisers who agree to pass along the information to students. Have handouts available at your own organization's meetings as well. Be sure to get all necessary permissions from the university related to advertising.
Campus mail is very useful when you want to send out invitations for events, organization newsletters, or other detailed information. Keep in mind that this is a slower form of communication, so mail your items plenty in advance. You may also be able to drop reminders in mailboxes the day of a meeting or an event.
Duh, right? Email can be used both to recruit new members and to keep your activists informed. If you have access to a relevant listserv, take advantage of it to reach students who are interested in similar issues. It is also a good idea to send out an email reminder the day of a meeting or event. Since students tend to receive a lot of e-mail, it is usually most effective to send messages that are short and to the point. Include contact information in case people have questions.
Use chalk to write short announcements on sidewalks around campus. Chalking serves as a quick way to remind people of upcoming meetings and events. Be sure to check if chalking is permitted at your school and if there are areas where it is restricted. Do not use anything other than chalk to increase the permanence of your chalking as this is a finable offense at many schools!
Class Announcements & Overhead Projectors
Take advantage of time before classes to make announcements. Some professors may be willing to make such announcements for you if you tell them in advance. Also, you may want to drop short memos into professors' boxes encouraging them to announce an upcoming event. It may also be possible to put up an overhead announcement before class begins in large lecture halls.
Campus Newspaper Ads
Contact the advertising representatives at your campus newspapers to check for rates and availability. Also, student publications will often include a calendar or listing of campus events. Be sure to make these arrangements well in advance of the event date.
Facebook has made communicating incredibly easy and it has had a dramatic impact on campus and in the way students interact with each other. Consider creating a Facebook group for your student group. It's an easy way to keep in touch with all of your members and provides a platform to plan meetings and schedule events. Be mindful that although Facebook penetration is quite high, not everyone uses it. You should consider what works best for your group.