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Seeking Recognition for NYS Writers Institute

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This semester is my first here at the University at Albany. When I came in for transfer advisement the week before the beginning of this semester, I saw that the New York State Writers Institute was on campus in the Science Library. Little did I know they put on events throughout each semester, by having authors, actors and Olympians come to talk to the community and students. It wasn’t until I was told I had to attend an event for a class assignment that I learned that these events even take place. So, what is and can be done to get the word out about these events to get more student attendance?

There are several options on how to get information about the institute out to the student body. It’s a question of what is the most effective way to get students attention. Many of the organizations on campus use social media such as Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. The NYS Writers Institute has their own Facebook page which, if liked, allows you to see what events they have coming up. There is also their webpage, which the link will be below.

I was able to get in touch with Michael J. Huber who works in the institute and ask some questions regarding getting students attention and getting more students to attend. He noted there is really a “Three-part challenge.”

He mentioned that getting news of the events out was just one part of the problem. The institute learned that they needed to expand the outreach. Doing more than just sending emails out needed to be done, and they have also started pushing more on social media. I asked about tabling, something they have already started doing.

Not only that the student interns and new graduate intern have been pushing into the classrooms as well as hanging flyers in the dorms. Michael also noted that they host a Cookie Day during finals week.

The second part to the challenge Mr. Huber said was that once the information is out about the events, its getting students to actually show up. Trying to get students to understand that the events are not just some boring stuffy scene or English class is just part of the problem. The institute has started trying to broaden who they bring in. This semester they have Olympians, actors, authors and poets. All trying to reach out demographic.

The last part of his three-part challenge is the timing of these events. A lot of the speaking engagements and events happen in the evening time. And while the institute is bringing in a diverse range of speakers it’s hard to get past the average student. Most students who attend the college has part-time or full-time jobs depending on the age, the course load is heavy and for those like myself who live off campus, it makes it harder to attend events.

While I believe the NYS Writers Institute is doing their best to get the word out about the events each semester, there could be more done by the college itself. Whether it posting more information on the colleges several social media accounts or sending out emails weekly from the communications board to students who know about these events spreading the word. The Writers Institute also has programs in the third floor of the Science Library in which students can go and get to know what is going on.


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