First off, I want to thank you for your editorial “Axing posters by Student Union misguided.” Without feedback, it’s impossible to improve on our services. I do want to give a little insight into our communication strategy, though — and I think you’ll find it’s anything but lazy.
During the summer, the UNBSU exec began formulating a communications strategy for our organization — something which no executive team in recent memory had done, and something we thought was necessary to improve the perennial issue of communication.
In the past, the Student Union has been somewhat notorious for printing large quantities of posters and doing very little else in terms of advertising, and we feared this approach was too “lazy.” We decided to cut back on posters for a trial period. The logic was that by significantly reducing the number of posters we print, we could focus on communicating in other ways.
For instance, we have increased and streamlined our social media content. Students — including the one quoted in your news article — have repeatedly told us that their main source of information is Facebook, so it just makes sense for us to focus our efforts where people are actually looking. In addition to Facebook, we’ve got Twitter, the UNBSU website and a free UNB Student Union app.
Saying that we’re using social media to save effort on posters is like saying the Bruns uses its website to save effort on newspaper — it’s not a matter of laziness, it’s a matter of using the best tools we have at our disposal. Social media gives us the ability to measure our message: we can see who is responding, how much people are hearing what we have to say and most importantly, how we can improve for next time.
We have also taken efforts to increase the single best route for student engagement — direct person-to-person contact. For example, to promote the Rich Aucoin concert, the Street Team ran a “Don’t Forget the Lyrics!” competition in the cafeteria to win tickets and did online giveaways for people who liked us on Facebook — in addition to putting up strategically-placed posters. This year’s councillors are also taking a new approach to office hours, being out on campus, actively engaging with students, talking about upcoming events and then bringing feedback back to council.
But enough about what else we’re doing. Back to the posters.
We tried something new. We took a risk. Without trying new things and taking risks, we can never be successful — but, on the other hand, it means that sometimes thing won’t be successful. And there’s no shame in that! In fact, we think it’s great! This is exactly how student government should work! Student unions try something new, and students give feedback. Then we take the feedback, revise and adjust, and try to get the balance right next time.
Say, by listening to the feedback from your editorial and printing more posters.
But we’ll also continue to keep using every means at our disposal, like our first “Brew & A” event on Friday, Oct. 24 at the Cellar. You bring questions, we bring drink tickets, and students can sit down with an exec member and talk about what the union is doing. What’s more personal than that?
-The UNB Student Union Executive