USU Productions’ first in-person event short on attendance

Organizers set up for the "Create Your Own Vision Board" event. (Wyatt Bible/The Collegian)

University Student Union (USU) Productions hoped to provide students with an opportunity to visualize their futures together in the Satellite Student Union (SSU) on Wednesday, Feb. 9. However, the first in-person event of the semester failed to attract students even after adopting a hybrid format due to COVID-19 concerns.

For USU Productions, hosting the “Create Your Own Vision Board” event early on in the semester was important to create campus community and to create a sense of belonging. 

Anyssa Garza, coordinator of programs, events and leadership for USU Productions, has been involved with it since her undergraduate years as a student event coordinator. 

“We collaborated with SupportNet and had them present on how to create targeted goals and what that looks like,” Garza said. 

Despite these efforts to give students an on-campus event, concerns were voiced and issues did arise regarding COVID-19.

“We were concerned about how many students would actually attend. This is one of our smaller events, so we were aiming for 40 to 50 students, and also we questioned if students are comfortable with being on campus and coming to an in-person event,” Garza said. 

To ensure safety and the least amount of COVID-19 exposure, USU Productions followed strict safety measures.

The event was hosted in the SSU, a bigger space than previous events for students to spread out and social distance. 

“We limit five students to a table and make sure masks are worn at all times,” Garza said. 

Even with safety measures in place and all of the supplies provided to create an eye-catching vision board, few students showed up.

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Examples of other vision boards were present for attendees to check out during the event. (Viviana Hinojos/The Collegian)

One of the students who did attend was Dan Nguyen, a sophomore majoring in forensic behavioral science. Nguyen hoped to use the experience to help focus on what he wants to accomplish this semester.  His vision board was full of cut-out images with phrases like “budget” and “debt-free,” conveying a financial concern Nguyen said many students could relate to.

Along with his financial goals, he also had a picture of a passport and a world map on his board.

“I want to study abroad. I plan to go to Australia because they have my degree program,” Nguyen said. 

His other goals included being more creative, moving forward with his classes and completing his undergraduate studies. He said he wasn’t expecting much in terms of attendance. He had hoped there would be five or six more people at least.

The event was also hybrid, but the number of students who attended virtually was unknown.

Since COVID-19 began, most in-person events have been forced online. With students now back on campus, but this low of a turnout, Garza said USU Productions may keep all events virtual. 

“Considering the turnout of this event, I think now we have to adapt to what’s going on. We see that students are not coming out. So what if we made it hybrid or solely virtual?” Garza said. 

USU Productions plans to develop its social media presence and post physical flyers around campus in an attempt to attract more students to future events.

“It’s a matter of tagging other departments and letting them know we have events going on which is an area we’ve been lacking in. We want to let students know this is happening on campus and is also virtual,” Garza said.

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