Students’ schedules must be considered when planning campus events

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Olivia Madera, Reporter

If you are like me, then you will probably understand that balancing life as a college student is extremely hard. Your schedule is constantly changing and becomes difficult to juggle. Along with prioritizing classes, grades and extracurriculars, students are having a hard time attending on-campus events.

Since my first year of college, I’ve realized that Cal Lutheran events are at odd times. They’re not only at times of the day that are inconvenient to attend, but many events that happen on the Spine occur during peak class times. Those who plan events should take students’ schedules into more consideration and perhaps be offered multiple times a week. 

Most events are put on by Student Life, the Office of Education Abroad and other clubs on campus. For commuter students, such as sophomore Mikaila Hanks, participating in campus events is hard. 

“My classes are in the afternoon, and a lot of the events that are held here on campus are in the afternoon. So, I can’t really attend any of them whenever they’re held,” Hanks said. 

According to Hanks, she tends to schedule her classes in the afternoon due to the traffic-heavy commute back home to Oxnard. Hanks said that her class schedule and the time campus events are held consistently overlap.

“I feel like I’m missing out on events at Cal Lu,” Hanks said. 

Because most students are unable to live in the residence halls, Hanks said commuters do not get to experience student life at Cal Lutheran. She and I agreed that campus events of any sort should be offered multiple days throughout the week or at least for longer periods of time.  

Junior Tayla Valencia said, “Maybe it’s because I am a transfer student, but I feel like the scheduling of events and classes is super weird.”

Valencia, a residential student, said that though it is easier for students who live on campus to attend events, the scheduling of campus events is not flexible. When talking about Foodie Fridays, an annual event hosted by Student Life, Valencia said that many classes fall between the two-hour “lunch” range, 12-2 p.m., which is the same time events like this take place. These campus events are held during peak class hours when many students are unable to attend. 

“Two hours isn’t enough time, all of the classes go for two hours,” Valencia said.

There are also many campus events, including club meetings, that happen later in the day to accommodate students’ schedules. But, if campus or student life events were held at this time, there might be a low turnout of residential, graduate and commuter students.  

“I work on campus, so I have classes during the day, and I work all night. So, what am I supposed to do in my free time?” Valencia said.  

I have definitely had this problem. I would be so busy during the day, that even if the event was offered later to accommodate students’ schedules, I would either be too tired, working or would have other plans already. There would be times when I didn’t know there were events going on that day. Cal Lutheran should advertise more events happening on campus, specifically on their main website page and not just The Hub. It would be beneficial to see more advertising around campus other than a couple of social media posts. 

“I do see things advertised and I follow the Grace Hall Instagram, and I’m able to go to those because it’s in my hall,” Valencia said. 

However, the issue with this is that resident assistants are clearly going to advertise their events and tell their residents to come, but commuters mainly have to rely on The Hub, Instagram and word-of-mouth from friends about upcoming events. 

Student Life recently has been putting out weekly newsletters for upcoming events, but they’ve only just started this newsletter system this year and I’ve personally noticed that most of their emails end up going to my spam folder. Student Life and the Office of Education Abroad hold bigger and more well-known on-campus events throughout the year; however, major events like Club Involvement Fair and Education Abroad Fair run into scheduling errors with students’ class times.

After speaking with the Director of the OEA Matthew Yates, I gained some insight into how they are working with students to provide accessible campus events. 

“Instead of asking students to come to us, why don’t we try to go to them where they’re at more frequently?” Yates said. 

Yates said he is working on running fewer events directly through the OEA and instead being more present at campus events students are already at. This way, students won’t feel so overwhelmed by having to schedule multiple times in their calendars to attend events that they want.

“We want people to know about education abroad and to consider it as an option, but we want to reduce the barriers for access, that’s the whole goal,” Yates said. 

The OEA is currently hiring another assistant director to help with advertising on Instagram, email and The Hub and help in properly advising students who want to study abroad. For now, Yates and the OEA have been analyzing and collecting data on what times work best for students when it comes to on-campus events. 

“We noticed we had the highest interest and traffic on Tuesday because of reverse chapel hours along the spine,” Yates said. 

Yates gained insightful information after hosting the Education Abroad Fair from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 13. While planning for the fair, he said that four hours was the minimum the OEA could do to allow access for all students to come and learn about study abroad programs. I took advantage of this fairly large block and was able to receive the information I needed without feeling rushed. Professors who were teaching first-year seminar classes from 11:25 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. were also encouraged by the OEA to bring their students during class time. This way, first-year students were able to learn more about the resources Cal Lutheran provides on campus. 

Hearing the different perspectives of faculty and students made me realize that events at Cal Lutheran not only need to be planned out more but researched extensively before they are held. Yates and the OEA should be role models for clubs, faculty and offices on campus as we see them consider students’ schedules when planning events. Other solutions could include hosting the event multiple times over a course of one or two weeks and/or multiple times on the day the event is scheduled. It can be offered multiple times, and perhaps a residential student-focused time or a special commuter-friendly time would be ideal. 

Advertising for these events needs to be improved at Cal Lutheran. Hopefully, with these changes, research, including trial or mock events, and new approaches will allow on-campus events to become more accessible to students. With more accessibility, Cal Lutheran’s community and student life will be stronger than before.