Best Practices for Driving Student Participation

student participation

Maintaining high levels of student participation is one of the greatest challenges every campus recreation department will face on a daily basis. The needs of students are constantly changing, and campus recreation has to evolve as a result.

There are many tools at your disposal to encourage student participation — social media, campus media, word of mouth — but determining the most effective avenue is a process of trial and error.

Campus Rec spoke with Andrew Case, the manager of sales and marketing, department of athletics, at Drexel University, about the importance of using various media platforms and other resources to drive student participation in recreation events:

CR: How do you drive student participation?

AC: Social media is big. We have a really dynamic marketing strategy team here at the Drexel recreation center that consists of photographers, videographers, graphic designers, web development and also some social media coordination as well. They work underneath me — it’s a student staff. And we put our heads together before every term, and we talk about what sports we have coming up, we pay attention to the seasons and that really helps with our graphic design work as well. Social media is always going to be a key component, though, because obviously the campus communication just runs and everything goes viral. That’s really where we focus.

CR: Can you leverage program popularity into higher levels of student participation?

AC: We have really great numbers. We offer so many sports with intramurals here at Drexel; you could really just pick and choose what your season is promoting. The way we utilize the game activity [is] we get good testimonials from other students about how much fun they’re having in sports; others really connect to it. We make sure we get good quotes about participation. So, I would say the students really help drive participation when it comes to what’s going to be popular the next season and what’s going to be something the campus wants to take part in.

CR: How important is having a strong social media presence?

AC: It’s very important. Social media is a cost-free way of marketing that we have going on here on campus. We have many organizations within the university, whether it’s different colleges, whether it’s fraternities, sororities that have their own social media platforms. So, when it comes to getting word out about what we have going on here, we want to make sure we’re delivering the right message to the university, always making sure we protect our brand, always making sure we have a good message, something that’s very educational, something that’s informative but entertaining as well.

CR: Any other advice for other campus recreation departments in driving participation?

AC: I would say for other universities, just [listen] to their students, valuing what they have to say, but also not being afraid to have fun with their marketing as well.

Bobby Dyer
Bobby is a staff writer at Peake Media. Reach him at bobby@peakemedia.com.

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