It’s a new school year, and while for many, it means new friends, new classes and new stresses, for the Student Government Association, with offices on every campus, it means a new year of events and projects. One of SGA’s many yearly events is their Constituency Day. Also known as College Day, it’s one of the most important events they host. SGA Senator Danny Mai said, “Constituency Day is a day for students to voice their concerns towards their respective representatives, all while enjoying free food! It’s important because it’s an event dedicated to students from that school! You can come up and voice your concerns for any reason towards any topics that interest you!”
As a former SGA member myself, I was expected to assist with and attend as many events as I possibly could, and during this time, it was clear why certain events failed and why certain events succeeded. One of the most immediate hurdles the event planners face is budget. While some colleges such as Mai’s J. Mack Robinson College of Business and current SGA Speaker Kaelen Thomas’s College of Arts and Sciences used their budget extremely effectively, other colleges, such as the Ernest G. Welch School of Art and Design, whose chief planner I’m not sure of, didn’t use their budget at all. The budget has to cover promotional materials and food. There is also the time crunch, as it takes time to have promotional materials approved and made, food to be ordered and rooms reserved. And while some may rely on the SGA office staff to do these things for them, the truly great ones have their leaders involved.
While different factors include being unique in what is being hosted — from CAS’s Lunch with the Dean and Robinson College’s Club Fair style event, to just actual involvement by the head senators in charge of the event, one of the main factors comes down to marketing. The general lack of interest from the students is the bane of any student organization. However, Mai implied it’s more on SGA’s back. When asked what makes or breaks an event he had this to say: “Marketing, marketing, marketing! Without a proper marketing strategy, without a way to inform the student populace about this event, then how will we get the attention of anyone? Everyone has a busy schedule to keep too. Everyone has their own goals and targets. As such, without a viable way to market towards those students, a way to gain their attention. Then attendance will drop drastically.”
So for the common commuter student, what are you supposed to do when you can’t attend an event you don’t know about? A quick and easy way to tell if a Constituency Day is worth going to is whether one has heard about it. Have you seen flyers on windows and posts in GroupMe? If you have, the next step is to figure out what food is being served. If it’s promoted to be kosher, halal, or vegetarian or vegan, that’s a key sign that event is worth going to because it demonstrates that whoever planned it was thoughtful enough to include these minority diets to appeal to as many people as possible. If they are promoting pizza, nine times out of ten, you should run away. That’s a sign that whoever planned it took the easy route. Constituency Days are important sources of information, but only if they are worth your time.