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SUB leads focus groups to gather student feedback

Marisa Iati | Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Student Union Board (SUB) aimed to improve its outreach, engagement and involvement initiatives this semester, SUB board manager Joe Caparros said.

“[SUB has] been doing a lot of outreach this year,” Caparros said. “That’s probably been our biggest program, reaching out to other organizations. These other organizations are passionate about [their programs], and when you team up with SUB, it just produces great events.”

For the first time, SUB collaborated with the Student Activities Office (SAO) to produce Comedy on the Quad in September, Caparros said.

The comedy show was one of SUB’s most successful events this semester.

“That had numbers that matched with regular concert numbers, so Gabriel Iglesias was a big hit,” Caparros said. “Other big events were [the] Macklemore [concert at Legends in November], which reached over 700 people coming in and out. Best of Acousticafe in the LaFortune Ballroom [in October] was really great.”

SUB tried to respond better to student feedback and improve its advertising, Caparros said.

“We have a website where we can really listen to people,” Caparros said. “It’s all linked to Facebook and Twitter. We’ve heard that people have wanted bigger advertising. With the Michigan State [football ticket] lottery, we had trouble making sure that every student was advertised to, and that’s definitely something we’ll improve on in the future.”

In order to gather student feedback, Caparros said SUB implemented focus groups in 21 out of 29 total residence halls. The initiative began last spring, he said, and SUB will continue it next semester.

“Sometimes our director of publicity would go to [certain residence halls] and there would be no one there [for previously scheduled focus groups], and that was kind of disheartening, but I feel like the few that we got were really constructive,” Caparros said.

Caparros said SUB used the focus groups to ask students what musical genres they prefer for SUB’s spring concert and seek feedback about its movie screenings.

“People were asking about having a matinee time, and I love that idea, and I love that we were able to get that from focus groups, so we’re actually having earlier times in the spring to facilitate that,” Caparros said.

SUB representatives in residence halls also asked weekly questions to collect students’ opinions, Caparros said, but this initiative was only partly successful due to lack of participation.

When SAO restructured this semester, Caparros said SUB adjusted well to its new staff advisor, program coordinator Joshua Wilson.

“I think we did well, and I think we can even improve more on those relationships [with SAO] in the future,” he said.

SUB intends to host more events in the spring, Caparros said.

“We had 39 events this year [so far], and with more weekends available because it’s not football season, we’re going to produce more events and improve the quality,” he said. “The two big ones to look out for are the concerts and AnTostal.”

Caparros said he also hopes to produce more alternative forms of marketing.

“I’m really pushing the involvement initiative, really pushing the dorm reps,” he said. “They’re really excited, and I’m trying to facilitate that even more.”