Connection on campus lacks strength
For a campus as small as UCC — where one can walk from one end to the other in less than five minutes — its issues with communication and connectivity are unexpected but ever-present.
Many student and staff organizations are trying to change this culture on campus. One such student is ASUCC Public Relations Officer Anthony Gordon, who can often be seen during his office hours in the Student Center.
Outside Gordon’s office, the lounge of the LaVerne Murphy Student Center periodically comes alive, like a kitschy cuckoo clock, with the chatter and buzz of student activity. Wednesday, Oct. 26, Gordon and another officer were hard at work cutting, taping and handing off signs to Events Coordinator Vitoria Marocci to then be posted on UCC’s grounds.
Gordon is the brains behind ASUCC’s “marketing” operation. In between his meticulous measuring of signs, Gordon explains his role as public relations officer. “It’s my job to maintain and make the main flyers that go out for events on campus,” he says. It was his idea to begin posting more physical signs in populated places. “I think [the signs] worked pretty well. Putting them in front of the nursing building made a lot of those students come to see what was going on.”
Along with Dean of Student Engagement Marjan Coester — the person behind the “A Week in Campus Life” announcement emails — Gordon is one of the few in charge of the social media information machine that runs ASUCC. “Other [ASUCC] officers sometimes post pics,” Gordon says, “but it’s mostly me.”
Gordon runs ASUCC’s Facebook and Instagram, and he is looking to expand to platforms like TikTok and Twitter, too. What he might be most famous for, though, is his hand in running Hawk Hangout. “I still can’t get over the amount of students I’ve talked to that say they know about [Hawk Hangout], but just don’t look at it,” Gordon says with a sigh.
Hawk Hangout is a “course” available to UCC students on Canvas which currently functions as a day-to-day update log of event announcements. Gordon usually likes to give students enough prior notice in order to plan their schedules around events: “The most important thing is that stuff gets out,” he says, “at least before the morning of [any event]. But the question is, how can we get students to actually look at it?”
Gordon designs all the flyers he posts on Hawk Hangout himself — he’s even working on redesigning ASUCC’s logo. “It usually gets updated every couple of years,” Gordon says, shrugging. “I was hoping after I create the logo, I could post some flyers with QR codes listing all official platforms of communication around campus. That way, students will know where to go and how to get there.”
He mentions that Suzie Pritchard, director of Communications and Marketing, is reworking the UCC website for the third time. Pritchard’s office is across campus, but she had hurried in to meet Marjan Coester that day to discuss a program involved in the making of the site.
“We started working on it last June, and it’s expected this January,” Pritchard says.
The current UCC website, Pritchard says, is as accessible as it can be, according to Section 508 — but there were some aspects, like a problem in levels of contrast between colors, that were unable to be changed. “So,” Pritchard says, “all efforts were diverted to our new project. We want to highlight what students want and need.”
Student feedback is important to Pritchard. “There’ll be student input: once we have a working model [of the website], we’ll be showing it around and gathering critique,” Pritchard says.
For the site, Pritchard has some ideas of her own: a “more visible event calendar”; “student landing page” where links and log-ins most-accessed by students are collected for ease-of-access; and, finally, “efficiency.”
“It’s not just lipstick,” Pritchard says. There will be major changes in the formatting of the site — which means major changes in student engagement and connectivity.
The Dean of Student Engagement Marjan Coester affirms Pritchard’s goals. “Student communication has always been a challenge, and we’re currently working on methods to mitigate that,” Coester says.
To stay updated about events currently happening on campus, students should make sure to check both their emails and Hawk Hangouts every so often — and keep their eyes peeled for flyers, signs and other methods of broadcast around UCC. A somewhat comprehensive list of current events can be found on the Student Events calendar on the UCC website.
“Is the current communications system working well?”
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