The chalkboard in the Thistle Complex is a brand-new initiative undertaken by the Ancillary Services department to give the hallway a makeover while providing students and departments with an opportunity to express themselves and showcase their talents.
“We installed the chalkboard last summer just before students came back in September. We were tasked with rebranding that corner to make it more engaging,” said Kate Dudley, manager of marketing for the Ancillary Services department. “We knew it would be an area of high traffic flow since, when school started in September, there was no access to the tower. We wanted a corner that was vibrant and more colourful, so we’ve accomplished that with a bit of a mural and the TV there that runs the ExperienceBU calendar.”
The chalkboard was designed to serve a dual purpose: style and utility. While the designs are organized by Ancillary Services, it was never the intent for the board to be a promotional board for the department.
“We wanted a point of interaction with various departments across campus and that’s what the chalkboard enables us to do. Our goal was never to specifically use it for Ancillary Services to promote what we’re doing but to use it as a ‘what is going on on-campus’ from a student experience perspective,” said Dudley.
Both departments and students can request to use the chalkboard and have been doing just that. Dudley aims to streamline the process and put together a team of dedicated artists to decorate the chalkboard with each request.
“It’s really blown up and people are really excited about the chalkboard. I get requests daily to use the chalkboard as another way to promote activities that are happening on campus from Student Services to the health and wellness groups,” said Dudley. “I got to thinking that since I don’t have a chalk artist on my team, it would be a great way to involve students and so I partnered with the social media coordinator from the Central Marketing Office to do a call out to put together a group of artists.”
According to Dudley, her goal is to pass along requests for chalkboard designs to the artists and allow them as much freedom as possible. With many upcoming events, Dudley is recruiting artists to fulfill varied requests.
“The board was recently used by a group to promote random act of kindness day and coming up we want to use the board to highlight the Meridian games, which is a big thing for our students and intramurals,” said Dudley.
The Ancillary Services Department has a say in a number of other happenings around campus and has other initiatives coming up.
“The entire Ancillary portfolio consists of sports and recreation; residence; dining; parking; conferences and campus store,” said Dudley.
Within the next two months, students can expect to see intramural registration, the Meridian game, new on-campus dining experiences and food ordering systems, the annual campus store Red Friday event and a campus store kiosk at the Pen Centre.
Dudley encourages students to never be afraid to voice their feedback on any of the changes they see occurring on campus because their input is valued.
“Keeping the student experience at the heart of our decision-making, we always are looking for feedback from students,” said Dudley. “We have a feedback wall that we are looking into creating and we have the happy-or-nots across campus for students to comment on the dining service and we have surveys for a number of other things. That feedback has really helped us to improve our services and we always look at that information and we make decisions with that feedback in mind because without knowing what the students want, we can’t achieve our goals and objectives to create an unparalleled student experience.”
The happy-or-nots are electronic devices located at dining facilities on campus to collect feedback. Individuals can select a face, ranging from unhappy to apathetic to happy, representing their feelings about their dining experience and select the main reason for this reaction. The next screen offers space for more detailed feedback.
The deadline for the call to artists was originally November 9 but has been extended indefinitely to provide chance for even more artists to join the chalkboard design team. Interested students are encouraged to apply at brocku.ca/ancillary/call-for-artists/