Rain, snow or shine, if you walk through Red Square, you’ll see clubs tabling and promoting their causes and events. Every day Georgetown students are inundated with e-mails about lectures, events and newsletters from the clubs they signed up for at SAC Fair. Flyers paper the walls of campus buildings, dorms and Red Square. Yet it appears that the system for promotion at Georgetown is severely challenged by the immense number of things happening on campus, combined with so many student groups choosing to promote their events in similar ways.

We do not mean to criticize student groups for publicizing their events; rather, our frustration arises because students so often fail to hear about exciting things going on around campus.

The problem as we see it is that the methods for publicity are often too similar and have far too much competition from so many groups. As a result, fascinating events are frequently lost in the shuffle and consequently under-attended.

Erika Cohen-Derr, director of the Center for Student Programs, agrees that tabling and flyering are “such a part of the fabric of the Georgetown organizational culture.” She adds, however, “But I don’t know that it’s a proven strategy for actually getting people to attend. And organizations have to weigh the impact of excessive flyering, because it can easily become both economically and environmentally wasteful.”

What is the solution to this problem? We believe all groups should pioneer new methods to grab students’ attention. Two recent examples caught our eye. Last week, there were two enormous seesaws set up in Red Square promoting awareness about ending sexual slavery which drew the attention of all but the busiest passers-by. On Wednesday, there was a door set up in the middle of Red Square to draw attention to GU Pride’s Coming Out Week. An older example is when Georgetown Students for Palestine literally set up a 30-foot plastic wall in the middle of Red Square four years ago to protest Israel’s construction of what they referred to as “an apartheid wall.” The Red Flag Campaign to raise awareness about dating violence was another unique and effective way to get the word out about an important issue. The amazing thing about these means of promotion is that they grab attention and increase campus recognition by doing something interesting and different rather than using the same old means of promotion. Official Georgetown events, too, need to recognize this and capture some of the grassroots fervor which characterizes these unique promotional methods.

This is not to suggest that tabling, flyering, dorm-storming and Facebook events do not have their place, or should not be used as means of publicity. They are essential parts of how Georgetown groups operate. In fact, the regular presence of the H*yas for Choice table in Red Square provides an essential service to Georgetown students in distributing condoms and brings important dialogue to campus.

Georgetown is an amazing community filled with a diverse student body that is engaged in a vast array of activities. The activities held by student organizations are phenomenal and a testament to the passion which drives Georgetown students, but all too often we find out a few hours or days too late that some event we would have loved to participate in passed us by in the massive deluge of repetitive advertising schemes. The possibilities for alternative means of publicity are endless and add an interesting and exciting element to campus life. Furthermore, publicity need not be limited to Red Square or approved bulletin boards. We should all seek to let our fellow students know about the exciting things we are doing through new and interesting ways that capture their attention, rather than just clutter their e-mail inboxes and walls in the Leavey Center. Our events are stimulating and exciting. Let’s have ad campaigns to match.

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