I was reading this article from the Chicago Tribune and (as often happens when I read news articles) I have some (rhetorical) questions, and I have some excerpts below.
Chalk gets out emergency message at U. of. I.
U. of I. officials use a low-tech approach to boost high-tech emergency alerts
- | Tribune higher education reporter
- 9:03 PM CDT, October 22, 2007
Administrator Robin Kaler needed students to register for the University of Illinois’ new high-tech emergency communication system, which will use cell phone text messaging and e-mail to get the word out in the case of an urgent situation like the April shooting at Virginia Tech.
Okay — contacting students, good.
But students do not always pay attention to official mailings and postings in dorms.
No news there
So Monday morning, Kaler, dressed in a suit and heels, crouched down on the campus Quad and went to work with a piece of purple chalk, scrawling this message on the sidewalk: “Sign up now!!! emergency.illinois.edu.”
Sounds like a plan to me.
On some campuses, administrators have banned the practice, calling it ugly and damaging graffiti. But for all the sophisticated technology at their fingertips, officials at Illinois recognized that a message works only if people pay attention.
Okay — slightly impressed with the Illinois administration for figuring out what works, and as Univ. of Illinois is a state school, it is my tax dollars, so it’s always good to see them at work.
“It’s funny to see someone in a suit chalking on the Quad,” said senior Sally Yoon, 21, who was competing for attention as she passed out fliers about homecoming. “It’s kind of a messy job.”
Guerilla marketing. Get their attention.
But the idea wouldn’t fly at some campuses.
University of Iowa officials last month told student leaders that if they chalk the sidewalks, they could be fined the cost to clean it up, according to The Daily Iowan student newspaper.
Ummm — fined the cost to clean it up????? Let’s continue to look at this article.
Rain that afternoon washed away all their hard work. But Kaler, undaunted, said they would be back at it in a few days.
I often have children drawing with chalk on my sidewalks (perhaps they are preparing to be future Illini students. Cleaning it up has never been an issue. I guess that the University of Iowa officials don’t know the basic chalk cleaning techniques. It’s called WATER guys — it falls from the sky. (No wonder Illinois is a superior school)
“I love it. I think it’s a great idea,” said Randall of Naperville. “Students will see it because everyone walks through the Quad.”
Not “everyone.” I wonder if they did similar chalking on the Engineering Quad? (OH — they actually READ their email).
Between noon and 4 p.m. Monday, 203 students, faculty and staff signed up—well above the 50 a day the program had been averaging. That brought the total to 2,680; officials hope to get at least 50 percent of the 60,000-plus community members registered.
Cheap effective marketing.