Mardi Gras Event

Campus services brought Mardi Gras to campus with its event. (credit: Alex Webster/) Campus services brought Mardi Gras to campus with its event. (credit: Alex Webster/) Credit: Alex Webster/ Credit: Alex Webster/

Campus services hosted a Mardi Gras event last Thursday with food, raffle prizes, and more in order to gain feedback about their products and services from students. Hosted in Wean Commons in the University Center, the event started at 5 p.m. and lasted until 7 p.m.

Students who registered at the event with their student ID cards were given a map of the different booths that were set up. They were then told to go to each booth and participate in surveys or answer questions in exchange for tokens that could then be used on some of the fun activities, like airbrush tattoos, fortune tellers, and palm readers.

“The event was fun — a tall lady gave me a hat,” said Marcia Solorzano, a junior mechanical engineer, after a stilt-walker had given her a balloon hat. Upon registering, students were also automatically entered into the raffle, with prizes ranging from an iPod to a $250 Visa gift card.

“Campus services provides a multitude of products and services to the community at large. All of these service providers were represented at the event including ... Copy Centers, Parking and Transportation Services, Postal Services, Printing and Mailing Services, the University Center, and the University Store ... as well as FedEx Office and PNC Bank,” said the director of campus services, Ryan Wolfe.

The theme and structure of the Mardi Gras event was designed to bring students out in a fun and personable way in order to gain constructive feedback and allow some of the “less visible departments like Copy Centers and Printing & Mailing Services the opportunity to interact with students.”

This strategy seemed to have worked, with over 270 students participating in the event and over 500 responses to departmental surveys. With the event, campus services made an effort to improve themselves and strengthen their relations with students.

“Typically [we] just interact with students to hear complaints, but this way we can have a fun and relaxed way to get feedback,” said Parking Services Manager Michelle Porter. Parking Services, as well as other campus service organizations, had surveys that students could take on iPads at their booths. In addition, open discussions about how to improve certain services were initiated and facilitated by departmental managers.

Many students were surprised by the number of services available, as well as the time dedicated to getting student feedback.

“It looks like they put a lot of effort into [the event],” said Paul Carboni, a sophomore in H&SS. “I came in for the free food, but it’s actually a very effective and streamlined way of getting feedback.”

Campus services are also working on improvements for their existing services.

“We were able to talk to students about these ideas during the event, including a new system in the bookstore that will allow us to host used textbook classifieds for students,” Wolfe said, “as well as new websites for Copy Centers and Printing and Mailing Services that will allow students to submit documents for professional printing and copying.”

Wolfe also commented on how it was “clear that students were not fully aware of all the services available on campus” and were therefore not utilizing them to the fullest extent.

He hopes that events like this one will increase helpful interaction between campus services and students and generate an awareness of all the available services, allowing both parties to benefit from a respectful and communicative relationship.