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I had a meeting with my fellow Student Government Executive Board members a few days ago, discussing how we could better communicate with students– that is, getting information to students and gathering accurate feedback. I asked the following question as I approached the whiteboard to write down potential answers: “how can we better engage with students and work more collaboratively?”

The first two proposed remedies caught me by surprise: drop-boxes and bulletin board flyers. In an age of rapidly-evolving mobile technology and social media, traditional bulletin board advertising and paper-and-pen messaging often goes unnoticed by those who’ve adopted technology as a standard for interaction. The fact the two organic remedies were mentioned didn’t surprise me the most– it was the overwhelming support of the ideas that really floored me.

The beauty of social media? It’s versatile. Not only can social media connect old and new friends– it can serve as a connecting medium between customers and business, and in this case, university students and administration. Instead of drop-boxes, why not implement a Twitter feedback system where students can text “@studentgovernment” with their opinions about campus issues? Instead of a weekly flyer with Student Government news, why not post weekly blog entires to update students, allowing them to comment with their feedback?

I believe the key for the Student Government here is to capitalize on what’s convenient to students. Hoping they’ll walk by a flyer is not efficient compared to a Twitter update that could travel directly to a student’s smart phone. Hoping they’ll take time to fill out a feedback questionnaire at a drop-box is inefficient considering the time they’d save by texting while eating or walking.

There will be no drop-boxes or bulletin board flyers on my college campus this fall– at least not for Student Government. Like many other college campuses and business, we’ll be testing a new medium of communication and measuring its success against its prehistoric predecessor: the drop-box.

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