Luebke, Barbara F. [faculty advisor, Department of Journalism]
RhodyWire; e-mail marketing; public relations; University of Rhode Island
In the past decade, technology has transformed how society communicates. From the internet to cell phones to iPods and video games, interactive communication has become the norm. At the University of Rhode Island, students adapt quickly to the constantly changing technology. Yet student organizations and the University as a whole have not adapted as quickly to such changes. This has led to an uninformed and uninterested student body when it comes to programming and events on campus. As students instant message on their laptops and text message on their cell phones (simultaneously, of course), organizations, clubs and athletics struggle to increase attendance at events -- events that many students have no idea exist. Ultimately, these groups are missing the boat when it comes to communicating electronically with their target audiences. Seeing this problem as an opportunity, I used my education in public relations to create a way for student organizations to spread the word about what’s happening at URI via e-mail. With the creation of a free weekly e-mail listing of campus events, the goal of this project is to offer organizations and departments the opportunity to reach students via e-mail. Beginning with the creation of a website, the project continued with an electronic survey of students. The goal of the survey was to gain a better understanding of how students might respond to the e-mail listing. The response was overwhelmingly positive and led to the creation, layout and design of RhodyWire. Throughout the semester, a marketing campaign was developed and implemented to create awareness about RhodyWire and to direct students to opt-in for the listing. RhodyWire debuted on April 2 and is sent every Monday to its subscribers. The future of RhodyWire has been discussed and plans have been made for it to continue next year. It is important to continuously promote RhodyWire and to listen to what its readers want. Thus, fliers will be distributed at Freshman Orientation to make incoming freshman aware of RhodyWire. In response to readers’ desires to know about what is happening off campus, guidelines will be set to determine what off campus events are appropriate for RhodyWire. I hope that the groundwork I have laid for RhodyWire will serve as a foundation that will continue to develop once I graduate. In the future, RhodyWire can potentially be the first e-mail that students read every Monday morning.