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O-Week Activity Fair expands, allows email collection

By Andrew Ta     8/28/14 7:27pm

For the first time, student organizations featured at the August 21 Orientation Week Activity Fair were allowed to collect the email addresses of interested new students, as long as those emails were not added directly to a listserv, according to Associate Director of Student Activities Olivia Barker.

“You may collect students’ emails to send them an invitation to a listserv,” Barker wrote in an email to the 150 student organizations registered for the fair. “You may not add students directly to a listserv if they give you an email address. Candy (and/or other giveaways) cannot be used as an incentive for students to give their emails.”

According to Barker, the extra step ensures new students do not feel pressured to sign up for a listserv, and that it was a compromise with organizations that wanted to collect emails.

“Collecting emails during O-Week's Activities Fair has not been permitted at all in the past because feedback has been that students are overwhelmed the first few weeks of classes with emails and information,” Barker said. “I personally didn't agree with not allowing any email collection, … [but] it's something that I think is valuable and beneficial for organizations because it gives them a connection point with the incoming students.”

Barker said student organizations should use the collected emails to reach out to new students when they have more time.

“This is a great marketing and connection tool,” Barker said. “This allows students to think about if they really want to receive more information about the organization. We also hope that the invitation to the listserv allows organizations the opportunity to reintroduce their group and remind them of what they do on campus.”

Barker said Student Activities hopes to continue this practice in the coming years but will also look for student feedback to make sure they are serving the students the best they can.

“Because Student Activities has additional resources and staff, we offered to coordinate the O-Week activities fair,” Barker said. “You will see minimal changes since this is our first year, but our hope is to continue to grow this opportunity so incoming students have a good chance of getting connected and involved the first few weeks of classes.”

According to Barker, past fairs were limited to around 100 student organizations because of limitations in space and resources, but 150 organizations were able to participate this year.

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