Student Organizations Try To Tackle Low Involvement

Taira Alabi, News Editor

While College of DuPage’s Student Leadership Council struggles to get students involved, leaders of COD’s clubs and organizations are taking their own initiative to find innovative ways to get students more involved.

COD is home to over 60 student clubs ranging from religious groups to ethnic awareness clubs. Each week, these clubs host meetings, speakers, and other social events in an attempt to raise awareness for the various causes that the clubs promote.

While some events, specifically ones offering free food, are heavily attended by students, others are not. This is something that frustrates Earl Dowling, vice president of student affairs.

Dowling believes that while the clubs at COD host a variety of events that students would be interested in, the lack of student interest is due to an overall apathy in society.

“If there’s a bright idea out there, I am ready to do something, and I’d be glad to do anything,” Dowling said.

Dowling explained that his office uses “table tents,” or little cardboard fliers placed in common areas around campus, to advertise its events and initiatives. While he is unsure how effective the “table tents” have been, he is glad that they are available for students to see.

Dowling’s bright idea might have already been found. He mentioned that he attended last month’s “Spring It On,” a series of events that ranged from a live concert to an indoor carnival. Dowling found those events to be very well attended by students.

Alter Ego Productions is the student club behind “Spring It On.” According to AEP’s mission, the club aims to provide several entertaining events to students throughout the year.

AEP’s marketing producer Daniel Rodriguez attributes AEP’s success to a variety of factors. For “Spring It On”, Rodriguez said that he tried to make the advertising simple and accessible for a busy commuter student.

Another key strategy Rodriguez mentions is the use of a “street team” that goes around campus and talks to students about the upcoming events.

“We make a personal connection to them,” Rodriguez said. “Those connections makes them want to come to the events.”

The street team goes out to talk to students about a week before events and as well as minutes before an event starts to remind students of the events.

Rodriguez does admit that having free food like cotton candy, corn dogs, and funnel cakes at their events is one of the main attractions for students.

“We try to have things that attract students and benefit them, I mean it’s free food,” Rodriguez said.

As AEP banks on the sheer fun of the events its hosts to draw students, other groups hope that prestige and academic opportunities will attract students.

COD’s chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, PTK, an international honor society for community college students, sends out email messages to the students who qualify to be members to the society. Students must have above a 3.5 GPA and have completed at least 12 credits.

PTK’s president Paolo Mazza explained that students who opt to join PTK are sent weekly emails with a list of events.

Last month, PTK hosted a March Membership Madness Month of events which he believes went well.

Mazza, who is graduating, wants to ensure that next year PTK is able to further improve its marketing strategies. He has begun preparing guides and sample emails and fliers to help the next leaders of PTK.

“If you have some sort of structure already, it is really essential to helping build yourself as a leader and grow,”  Mazza said.

As the student clubs and organizations take on the task of getting students more involved into their own hands, the Student Leadership Council is taking notice.

Aira Lheiz Aquino, the outreach coordinator for the SLC, wants to see clubs continue to go beyond the norms to get more student involved. Aquino explained that while expanding outside of one’s comfort zone can be hard in marketing, she believes that is something that the students at COD deserve.

“This is a chance to share the opportunity [you have been given],” Aquino said. “I feel that makes the difficulty worth it.”