University of Illinois communicators ditch technology for old-fashioned chalk to reach students, and the results are impressive
Chalk this one up to experience—when communicating a message in today’s wired world, low tech can prove more effective than high tech. At least that’s what communicators at the University of Illinois discovered when they successfully tapped the power of chalk to reach its massive student body.
Communicators faced the challenge of informing the university’s roughly 43,000 graduate and undergraduate students about a new emergency messaging system. The problem was that most students fail to open e-mail messages from the university and mass e-mail is the primary vehicle for reaching the campus community.
“They don’t have an interest in hearing from us—unless it’s about classes and even then [they usually don’t],” explained University of Illinois communicator Robin Kaler, who works at the university’s flagship campus spanning the central Illinois towns of Champaign and Urbana.
So if not by e-mail, how do you communicate to such a large audience?