Low event attendance causes many to rethink methods

 

This school year, some have noticed a decline in attendance at campus events.

“We kicked off the year feeling really encouraged,” said Rae Showen, director of student activities. “We sort of hoped that trend would continue. Other events SAC does on an annual basis, the attendance was pretty par for the course. Then we started noticing attendance kind of plummet, specifically with our music events. That was the first area where we saw a significant decline.”

Many SAC events have low attendance due to work, low student body account, and high commuter enrollment. (Photo by Cammera Archie)

While the decline in event attendance has been noticeable in some areas, it is not as noticeable in others.

“In residence life I think it’s similar every year in that some are highly attended and some are very low,” said Stacy Utecht, resident director of Blossom Hall. “It’s almost like there isn’t any middle ground.”

One big issue to look at is why students are not attending events.

“A lot of our students work,” Showen said. “Many out of necessity. I get that. If it comes down to [attending an event] or earning money at their job, I get it. They’re going to work.”

“What I think you’re seeing in general is because we have a lower student body count,” Utecht said. “We have a pretty small student body this year.”

According to the Fall 2013 Fact Book, there were 2113 total students enrolled in fall 2013 compared to 2396 total students enrolled in the fall 2012.

Many students are commuters, making it difficult for them to attend some events. According to the Fact Book, nearly 49 percent of students are commuters.

It is also difficult for many student athletes to attend events outside of school, practice, and games.

There are also variables outside of lack of time and schedule conflicts.

“We might also just have to attempt to address apathy somehow, which is really challenging,” Showen said.

A challenge of low student attendance at events has been figuring out how to increase the attendance in the future.

[pullquote]“We might also just have to attempt to address apathy somehow, which is really challenging,” Showen said.[/pullquote]

“I think that if there’s a high level of interest in the subject matter, whether it’s a social event or if we’re trying to do an educational event that’s of interest, I think you’ll see a higher attendance,” Utecht said.

“A lot the time, if [the event] is cheaper or free, it might draw more people,” said Josh White, senior Bible and theology major and commuter director for Student Senate. “I think the gas to come to back campus, or paying for food because you have to stick around campus longer makes it harder.”

One suggestion is to collaborate more on events campus wide.

“My personal opinion is if we were to collaborate more on a staff and faculty level, and instead of offering more programs, offer fewer that are specific to the student body needs and to what they want,” Utecht said.

Many staff and faculty members are also reaching out to determine what students want out of events.

“I think the best way to [solve this problem] is going to the source that we’re serving,” Showen said. “What do you want? What do you need? What might get you out of your room? What might get you back to campus as a commuter?”

What would get you to attend more events?

 

Kaylee Riley is the news editor for The Aviso AVW.

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