Connections at WSU A photo documentary

My name is Steven Misner and I am Sophomore at Washington State University. Although I have only been at WSU for about three semesters now, I've already started to love the campus and sense of community that comes with the school. The busy atmosphere of campus and the multitude of students ensures that there is always something going on somewhere. And whether that something is good like social events, or bad like new construction, people are going to want to know about it. One problem that I have found is that it seems WSU often doesn't do a very good job of spreading information to the majority of students. Sure the big things are publicized around campus like concerts and major events, but often I find that I'm not hearing about some things until the day after or later. Of course I know the schools are actually trying very hard, but there are only so many mediums through which they can reach out to students.

This documentary will examine the ways in which WSU conveys important information and events to its students, and how the students find the information that they are looking for.

One way that the school can directly communicate important information to students is through email.

Different departments and groups from WSU can easily spread the word about gatherings and events through email. In this photo, I received an email from the WSU Alumni Association inviting me to go to their Annual Holiday Celebration, something I never would have even heard of if not for this email.
While email is a great way for WSU to send students information on events, it is also a good way for the school to deliver news and updates. In this picture, I received a news update about the school from the office of Kirk Schulz, the president of WSU.

Emails like these two are very common, often flooding my inbox daily. In fact, looking at my email, it appears that one cant get away from school news. However, through all of the clutter that WSU sends to people, it became apparent to me that there was still so much going on around campus that I had no idea about. With some quick searching, I found that there were dozens of WSU info websites out there with tons of information.

There are many WSU related websites that are made by the school that cover various aspects of college life. There are WSU websites for everything from basic school news, to major-specific information, to event information, and even facility related news. The amount of websites and information shocked me. I knew that there were several WSU information websites that existed, but I had no idea that there was such a multitude of them.
This is a perfect example of the type of websites that WSU is making. Almost every one of the websites have this default design. While it is an effective layout for information, it can become a little monotonous.
After a while of clicking my way through WSU websites, I found myself on the SEB (Student Entertainment Board) website. Now the SEBs website was different than the other websites that I had seen. This website had a unique layout, was much more up to date, and was more content driven. The website even included direct links to their different social media sites. One can assume that this is because the SEB website is student made, which is interesting to compare to the school made websites.

I was glad to find that there was so much information available online, but I was also critical. It is great that there is so much information out on the web, but the information is fragmented. Trying to find some specific information could easily become a long complicated process. Each topic basically had it's own website, and each website was usually just a cookie cutter page with a couple tabs on the side bar. The website for the Student Entertainment Board heavily used social media to spread its information, which arguably can be more effective in today's social media world.

The SEB's website also shows all of their student run events including concerts, lectures, galleries and other student events. Once again, they link their other social media accounts, and their phone number and email.

While the SEB did a great job at promoting their group using social media, it is also true that there are countless other WSU affiliated social media accounts and pages. Now that social media sites like Facebook and Twitter have been around for a few years, many groups have jumped on the social media bandwagon and are taking advantage of it's networking abilities.

WSU also utilizes a social media site called Twitter. There are many different twitter pages from many of the groups and departments around campus. Groups like this official WSU Pullman page can use Twitter to easily share events, updates and messages to any students following the page.

One last way that WSU and its groups can directly keep students updated is through phone updates and notifications. WSU Alerts will send students text messages, emails and calls whenever there is any issue around campus, big or small.

This image shows a list of text messages sent by the school to a friend of mines phone. As seen in this image, WSU Alerts will send students messages for anything from power outages to HazMat incidents. WSU Alerts will even ask you to send a response for certain events to make sure you are alright.

After looking at all of various outlets that WSU and its groups are employing to try to communicate with students, it is obvious that a lot of work goes into the process. But all of that work is in vain if the students don't ever see any of it. Having such a large amount of information is great, but how the students access this information is almost just as important as having it. I recently got to interview my friend Jack Jensen about how he gets and finds school news.

Q: Do you think WSU is doing a good job at keeping students up to date on information and events around campus?

A: "I think if you know where to look then, yeah, they do a pretty good job.”

Q: How do you receive news and information from WSU? Why?

A: “Probably email. I think that because the campus has made email so universal, it makes it a lot easier because everything is going to your email.”

Q: How easy is it for you to find information on the internet about school related news or events?

A: “Information is fairly easy to find after checking a couple links, but I don’t think they label their links very well through search engines like Google.”

As a student myself right now, I know that sometimes information can be hard to find. In my own experience, using the online news sites to find information isn't really that hard, but it can be a long process to find exactly what you are looking for. And although the school does send students a plethora of news emails, there are often so many that they are discarded as clutter. The social media side of the WSU groups was a nice change to something a little more modern, but I highly doubt that students are just going to go and follow a bunch of school news pages for fun.

While the methods talked about in this article so far have been the main sources of school news and information, there are a few other sources that should be talked about. For example, WSU has a student run newspaper called the Daily Evergreen.

The Daily Evergreen is a student run newspaper that focused on WSU and student life. The newspaper exists in print and online forms and even has its own archive. While the Daily Evergreen looks as though it should be the perfect source for students to get their information from, the main problem with the paper is that it is a newspaper. Not many students in college today read newspapers, so unfortunately more often than not the Daily Evergreen goes unappreciated.

As a student, I know just as well as anyone how important it is to keep up to date on whats going on around me. Going into this project, I felt like the school wasn't doing the best job at keeping students updated on news and events. However after doing some research on the topic, it became clear that WSU and its affiliate groups are actually trying really hard to get students their news. They are almost using every single medium they can to get information to students. The only problem with the ways that they are making this information available to students npw is that I believe that everything is a little fragmented, searching can quickly become a complicated process of jumping between sites. However, while there are obvious flaws in some of the ways that WSU relates its news and events, much of the time the problem is that students simply aren't looking up information, or are just ignoring it (like the emails).

All-in-all, I believe that WSU is doing a fairly good job at trying to keep students up to date on whats going on around them, with only a few hiccups. If people just take a few minutes to search for what they are looking for, I'm sure that the information can be found.

Created By
Steven Misner

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