Lack of inclusivity and poor communication will lead TU events to fail.
Looking back at the success of Homecoming Week, The University of Tulsa organized many events that produced a great turnout. With events like the Fall Fair, Raging Cane, Coffee and Karaoke and the esteemed Homecoming Bonfire, organizations on campus might wonder how to corral the same student turnout for events throughout the year. A common theme between the homecoming events and the larger events throughout the year is simple — free food, free drinks and free t-shirts. It is no secret that a key motivator driving student attendance revolves around the incentives they stand to gain. The difference in turnout between events like the labor-intensive bonfire build, requiring two hours of work during class times, and the grand bonfire itself, which featured alcohol, various food options, musical entertainment and countless Instagram-worthy photo opportunities, was striking.
Communication of events thrown by TU or student organizations must improve to create a consistent and involved student body. To hear about events on campus, the TU Today emails, event calendar and UTulsa Events on Instagram are decent options. However, the average student interested in attending a social event must rifle through lists of events that do not pertain to everyone, are during regular class times, or do not offer accurate information. During Homecoming Week alone, I received 19 emails from TU regarding events and deals — this does not include emails from my college or personal organizations. Weeding through numerous lists on various emails cannot be a top priority for a busy college student. The average TU student has academic priorities, which require many hours per week outside of the classroom solely towards classwork.
In under a year, attempting to break two different world records, yet only accomplishing one, comes down to simple change. In January, breaking the world record for the largest pizza party was accomplished with the help of students, staff, alumni and the community on a Saturday. This event more than tripled the previous world record. The attempt to break the world’s largest beer tasting — a record that was 163 people away from success — occurred during class time on a Thursday which inhibited the majority of the student body, staff and community members who were still at work during this time from contributing.
On top of poor communication, many events throughout the year are not very inclusive to the average student who is not involved in organizations or Greek Life. If someone does not have a group of people to attend an event with, most will not go alone. Additionally, much of the food offered at events is not dietary inclusive. For example, TU has a large vegan population and events like Raging Cane that only offered hot dogs are not inclusive. While food trucks have become classics, such as the Dogfather and Masa, adding more variety or more nutritious options could cater to a larger population.
The University of Tulsa is made great by its student body and involvement. The number of unique organizations and events on campus are one of many things that set this campus apart from universities all over the country. With minor improvements, social events on campus have the potential to reign in a similar crowd to the reigning success of Homecoming attendance.