Glance at the wall of posters by the Corner Store or the official Lawrence University calendar and experience an unfiltered information overload. Event advertisements in dorms and campus buildings vary from building to building and range from applied-on-every-surface to notably-absent.
For a campus the size of 84 acres, there is a lot happening between the sports games, weekly meetings, concerts and guest speakers and performers. With this much information, the ability to filter for individual preferences and make sure that the people who want to learn about an event would be an advantage to both event planners and attendees. Clearly, event advertising and outreach at Lawrence needs an overhaul. How to go about doing that should be decided by both the administration and students. To facilitate the beginnings of such a process, here are a few ideas:
To start, a centralized online web page for student organizations as well as university departments would be a great step in the right direction. Perhaps students could even call events to each other’s attention by up-voting interesting events, asthe websites Digg and Reddit do. This could insure that, despite seemingly innocuous titles, an event is not ignored.
Students could also sign up online to receive weekly emails custom-suited to their particular interests. They could choose the types of events they did and did not want to find out about. Each weekly email would feature short blurbs about each event the person might be interested in and this process would be done by a single entity, like Lawrence Communications.
Filtering and searching those results has, by this point, been ingrained into the infrastructure of the web and Lawrence could bring its calendar into the 21st century by making its events sortable by interests and tags. For now, The Lawrentian plans to increase its effors to keep students posted on important upcoming events they might not have heard about. Look for them next term!