The student affairs “off-season,” or the time when students are away from campus, allows for time to catch up on administrative tasks and focus on the upcoming semester.
We tend to forget that one of the most opportune times to engage with students is when they’re not physically on-campus.
Here are seven proven methods for engaging students year-round!
1. Check the academic calendar
Before you do anything else, check the calendar during breaks to see when students will and won’t be around. Building an engagement strategy without knowing who is around is just flushing the resources and energy you put toward events and engagement down the drain.
2. Move programming off-campus.
Depending on where your campus is located, consider looking toward nearby downtown areas and local venues to host community-partnered events. If there are festivals or sporting events happening locally, your office could sponsor activities or booths.
Or, you could have summer staff coordinate group outings to those events — commuting and getting to know new people make for a double win.
3. Host a virtual student involvement workshop
Many students want to be involved before they arrive on campus. Hosting a virtual workshop for transfer students and new students early-on invites students to be curious about their future involvement.
4. Utilize a student engagement platform
Peak students’ interest early on by making it easy for students to find events for the upcoming semester. As a student affairs professional, you’ll understand where to focus your programmatic efforts and which students are the most and least involved through real-time data analytics.
5. Send snail mail
Ahhh… the feeling of nostalgia when you open snail mail. Manifest a similar feeling with students while they’re away by sending them some love when they least expect it.
6. Partner with career services
Students are more apt to focus on their career during the summer months with internships and summer work. Extending career resources during the summer encourages students to think about their next step and beats the rush of seniors who forgot to create their resume throughout their college career.
7. Maximize social media to create connections
Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook are just a few of the social media spaces where Gen Z is choosing to participate. The live video feature provides you the opportunity to highlight residential living spaces, a day in the life of a summer student or staff member, or a mini campus tour.
While it can be easy to fall into an off-season slump when it’s quieter around campus, remaining student-centered helps to engage students at all times of the year.
What are ways you engage with students during the student affairs off-season?
I’d love to hear your thoughts. Give me a shout at Twitter @THEKarynDyer!