Letter to the editor

This is a response to letter about the disappointing turnout at the Push Stars

Concert (“Give concerts more publicity” Nov. 21). The reason why there is a lack of spirit or sense of community at BU is not the amount of great programs that are being put on. The reason is that no one knows about them. BU students want to know what is happening on campus. Student leaders try very hard to let students know about their programs. They are caught in lose-lose, Catch-22 situation.

At BU, a combination of issues cause people not to know about what’s going on. Let me go down the limited options groups on campus have to promote their events.

First, one can try putting up flyers around the campus that is divided into residence halls and academic buildings. In academic buildings SAO regulations make groups put “paid for by Undergraduate Student Fee” on the flyer and restrict legal flyering to free-expression boards. Here, they are ripped down the next day by paid promoters advertising spring break vacations, Visa, “Time” Magazine, test prep companies and editorial services. They go around at 7:30 a.m. and are ruthless.

Many student groups choose to go in the stairways and post flyers on walls where they will stay up at least 2-3 days until a janitor takes them down. The group then gets fined $50 each time they do this. Some groups will just take the fine. For instance the BU Greens ended up $150 in the red from advertising fines for their Nader Speech promoting, but they were able to draw 6,000 people to their event.

Only Resident Assistants update residence hall boards. In order to get your flyer on the board you have to submit to the office of Residence life by Friday at 2 p.m. The flyers get put in RAs’ boxes on Mondays. Unfortunately, many (I think most) RAs change the flyers once a week on a Friday or Saturday (thereby effectively eliminating most of the events). Or you might be like my RA who does it every two months.

Many RAs don’t even post the flyers on the boards (which every floor does have). They put the flyers in binders where their effect will be completely minimized. But hey they have classes too, it’s not like it’s their job to update the board weekly. A few RAs do update the boards daily, but they are the exceptions and should be commended for their effort.

How about putting an ad in the newspaper? The Daily Free Press, though reliable, is quite expensive. Two quarter-page ads cost as much as most programs. The Student Underground, though quality, only comes out every three weeks. And I’m pretty sure no one has even heard of the BU Bridge, a.k.a. the BU help wanted newsletter.

Even things like tabling don’t work at BU. The GSU tables are condensed and opposite credit card vendors and crafts folk. It’s hard enough getting eye contact let alone someone pick up a flyer for an event. Plus it is noisy and crowded because of the rush that is GSU lunch. The Student Activities Office suggests using the big boards on the GSU. This costs at least $50 and that’s for a black and white poster. After all this, we are left with word of mouth and e-mail, so the same 50 people who have already heard about it get to go to the event.

There are great programs going on at BU. As part of one of the groups that puts on fun and interesting programs at BU I feel the frustration. We can not expect great attendance or a strong school community until we deal with these underlying simple but hard to fix problems at BU.

Simon Laing Chair of Programming Council Films Vice President, CAS Forum Underground delegate USA member CAS ’01

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