Increasing Membership for the Graphic Design Student Association

Feasibility Report Increasing Involvement Stephanie Stoltz

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To From Date Re

Jonathon Knisely and Niki Shupien, GDSA President and Vice President Stephanie Stoltz, GDSA Treasurer April 21, 2009 PROPOSAL TO INCREASE GDSA MEMBERSHIP

I am pleased to submit a copy of the feasibility report on increasing membership for the Graphic Design Student Association (GDSA), which will help you understand strategies to increase student members for the 2009-2010 academic year. I researched and gathered pertinent information on five recruitment strategies for graphic design student groups. I then summarized my findings, and gave you a recommendation in regards to the success rates of these strategies. My research showed various success rates among each recruitment strategy based on both the strategy and those who were involved in caring out the strategy. Concluding my research, I would recommend using combined methods of class room speakers, blogging/social networking, and a reoccurring annual event to form a sense of continued mission of the GDSA from year to year. Let me know if you have any questions about the feasibility report and/or classroom speakers, blogging/social networking, or a reoccurring annual event discussed in the report. Encl: Report

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Table of Contents Letter of Transmittal.……………………………………………………….…………………..... 2 Introduction/Problem Statement….……………………………………….……………………... 4 Scope of Project ……………….……………………………………..………………………..… 4 Background Methodology……..……………………………...……………………………….. ...5 Findings………………….………………………………...………………………………….…. 5 Flyers.……………………….... ..…………...…………………………………………... 6 Bogging/Social Networking ...…………………………………………………………... 7 Classroom Speakers ...……………………………………………………………….…... 8 Informational Meeting.. ..………………………………………………………………... 9 Reoccurring Annual Event.…….……………………………………………………...... 10 Summary………………....…….……………………………………………………….. 11 Conclusion…………………………………………………………………………………....12-13 Recommendations ……………………………………………………………………………….13 Interview Questions .…………………………………………………………………...…….14-20 References……………………………………………………………………………………..... 21

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Introduction/Problem Statement The majority of college students lead very busy lives, balancing both school and a job or two. As graphic design professor Steven McCarthy once said, “Time is money.” (McCarthy 2009) This being said, attempting to increase membership in a student groups is a difficult task. There are many strategies to recruit members for student organizations. Due to the lack documentation of previous strategies taken by former GDSA offers and the success rates of those strategies, picking specific recruitment strategies has been a difficult task during the 2008-2009 academic year. Being informed will help student leaders like yourselves, Jonathon and Niki, plan ahead for member recruitment for the upcoming academic year. As you are aware, limiting yourselves to one strategy means you limit the number of students you reach. An ideal solution to reaching a vas majority of graphic design students would be to gather information about several strategies. In addition it is vital to know the success rates of how these strategies reach students in comparison to the time and money put into them. I have gathered information about five recruitment strategies, organized the information, and given you recommendations about how you can increase membership in the GDSA. I also advise you on how to maximize membership despite restrictions of your busy schedules and the student group’s financial standing. Scope of the Project/Information Collected Several different strategies were analyzed to give you a thorough final recommendation. Information about required number of people to help with recruitment, number of hours to make the program successful, an approximant of numbers of students reached by each strategy, cost, and if any additional outside assistance will be needed was gathered for each strategy. This information will be used to inform you about the cost/benefit of each strategy, keeping in mind as Steven McCarthy mentioned earlier, that time is money (McCarthy, 2009). In addition, testimonials were also gathered from current graphic design students and faculty about their thoughts on these particular strategies. I use this information to give you well informed recommendations about how to be successful in increasing membership for the GDSA.

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Background Methodology I researched the use of flyers, blogging/social networking, classroom speakers, an informational meeting, and a reoccurring annual event as they pertained to increasing membership for the Graphic Design Student Association. I employed four types of research strategies for this project which are as follows:  Interviewing: I conducted three interviews for this project. First I interviewed Steven McCarthy, a professor at the University of Minnesota and a former Graphic Design Club faculty advisor. I conducted a one on one interview with Steven to discuss strategies used previously by Graphic Design Club and his opinions of the student group as a faculty professor. Secondly I interview Lisa Musselman a senior at the Art Institute and student chair for the AIGA via Facebook messaging. Lastly, I conducted another one on one interview Jessica Uhl, a junior at the University of Minnesota who is not involved in Graphic Design Student Association. The questions and the responses of these interviews can be found on pages 14-20. Online Blogs: As a source of information regarding what other graphic design student organizations are doing for recruitment and events. Program Websites: Basic information about benefits of beings a student member of AIGA. Verbal Questioners: Asking fellow University of Minnesota graphic design students their opinions.

Findings The findings for each recruitment strategy are listed in tables from pages 6-11 to best provide you, Jonathan and Niki, a way to easily compare important factors in recruitment strategies. The numbers compressed in the data are based on my findings from the interviews I conducted, online research, and several verbal questioners of graphic design students ranging from freshmen pre-majors to seniors at the University of Minnesota. You will also find an analysis of the five strategies in the Conclusion section located on pages 12-13.

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Flyers “Graphic design students are very judgmental when it comes to flyers,” said graphic design student Jessica Uhl. After talking further with Jessica, she explained how she felt because it a basic part of our major – that is, combining text and images - that design students need to be “wowed” to really pay attention to a flyer. Jessica and her classmates agree that if the flyer is bad, you may hear people talking about it, but they are not saying good things, and that a bad flyer will most defiantly not appeal to something students would want to join. (Uhl 2009) Number of people required Number of hours expected Approximation of Students reached Cost Additional outside Assistance 1 person 2 hours for a creative flyer 40 Less than $5 N/A

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Blogging/Social Networking Jonathon and Niki, you know exactly how busy students are, as you are very busy yourselves. That being said, being able to communicate at any hour of the day is an important addition to any student group. It is crucial to have both a blog and social networking group to recruit members without pressuring them into joining, as well as keeping members informed about current events. As I am aware, the GDSA has a blog site that is currently still in the works as well as a Facebook group. My goal for this section is to inform you of what information other groups are putting on these pages to increase this strategies success rates as a recruitment tool. As stated on the AIGA Minnesota Student Community Facebook group, “This is a place to announce upcoming events that are hosted by student groups, affiliated with AIGA Minnesota.” The description of the group includes information, communication, inspiration, validation, and representation. Number of people required Number of hours expected Approximation of Students reached Cost Additional outside Assistance 1-2 people for updating ~ 5 hours per week 85 Provided by the University Mentoring from a web designer or faculty professor Academic advisor suggesting links to students or providing email domains Some current examples of graphic design club blogs include:   MCAD: UW Stout:

Examples of information found on these blogs include group events, freelance work, job postings, information about portfolios, information on resumes, self promotion, and tutorials, just to name a few.

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Classroom Speakers Classroom speakers are often well received by professors and students. Typically speakers will come and speak for five to ten minutes either at the beginning or end of a class, depending on professor’s preferences and student’s availability. Lisa Musselman, the current AIGA student representative states, “At AI we have an orientation class our first quarter. While I was in orientation class, someone that was already a member of the school’s group came to our class and spoke about the benefits of joining.” (Musselman, 2009) Number of people required Typically 2-3 Number varies, depending on how many classes you try to reach Number of hours expected Approximation of Students reached Cost Additional outside Assistance 10 minutes per session Class sizes are typically 15-20 Time Researching classes, times, professors, and then contacting those professors to see if they are willing to let you come speak.

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Informational Meetings Informational meetings typically occur in the beginning of each academic year. The purpose of this meeting would not only be to educate student of the GDSA’s mission, but also to explain student benefits of joining the GDSA and becoming a student member of the AIGA. Number of people required Officers to run a meeting, faculty advisor, and possibly AIGA representative 2 hours: 1 hour planning and 1 hour for the meeting 15+ Time and food to draw more attention to the event Contacting an AIGA representative, room reservation, check out of a projector, ordering food, emails sent to students via academic advisors.

Number of hours expected Approximation of Students reached Cost Additional outside Assistance

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Reoccurring Annual Event Events allow students to become further involved in their education. Lisa Musselman is an example of an involved student. She stated, “I wanted to be as involved in my education as possible; anything that would help me learn outside class.” (Musselman, 2009) University of Minnesota student Jessica Uhl also stated she would be interested events that explored different design related activities that we don’t necessarily get to experience in the classroom, such as speakers and interaction with design professionals. (Uhl, 2009) Although each year new officers are elected, using a method similar to one used by UW Stout’s graphic design club of keeping officer binders would be beneficial. This way, future GDSA officers could see what has been done before and how previous officers planned events. This method would be extremely useful when planning a reoccurring annual event. For example, The Graphic Design Forum was an event this spring, which could possibly happen annually. Professor Steven McCarthy states, “…perhaps, if the GDSA organized a reoccurring annual event there would be a shared sense of mission from year to year.” (McCarthy, 2009) Number of people required Number of hours expected Approximation of Students reached Cost Additional outside Assistance 3 for planning, 3-4 speakers 10-15 50+ Time and catering Contacting speakers from local design firms and promotion of event via professors and emails.

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Summary Table for Five Recruitment Strategies I have put together a summary table of the five strategies mentioned through the report. This table simplifies some of the information given on previous tables, and breaks the information down by numbers for a quick comparison. Flyers Number of people required Number of hours expected Approximation of Students reached Cost 1 Blogging/Social Networking 1-2 Classroom Speakers 2-3 Informationa l Meetings 6 Reoccurring Annual Event 3

2 40

5 85

1/6 15-20

2 15+

10-15 50+

Less than $5

Provided by the University


Time and food to draw more attention to the event Yes

Time and catering

Additional outside Assistance
(if yes, please see previous pages for details)





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Conclusion  Flyers In terms of people required to make and distribute, time, and the cost of printing, flyers seem like they would be a desirable option. In addition, no additional outside assistance is needed. However, as I mentioned previously, graphic design students are very judgmental of flyers. Thus flyers have the greatest potential of negatively impacting member recruitment.  Blogging/Social Networking While you have started a blog and social networking group, it is evident that it can be pushed to greater extent to reach its full potential as a membership recruiting strategy. While this is a larger commitment for several people, it also has the potential of reaching the most students. As far as cost is concerned, the University provides a free url, and a Facebook page is free of charge as well. Many area schools have blog pages that can be used to gather inspiration on what to include on a blog page. While this strategy is more time intensive than flyers, it has a much higher success rate. However, finding someone that knows enough about web design and that is willing to donate the time to keep a blog current might be difficult.  Classroom Speakers This strategy consumes the least amount of time, as speaking takes around ten minutes. Classroom speakers are typically well received by students and faculty; however, you run the risk of speaking to the same students several times. This has potential to either get students really interested in the event and willing to ask question or make them annoyed that they have heard the same thing several times. Typically design classes are rather small, with 15-20 students in each; however, you could also speak at a larger lecture class. The classroom speaker strategy has an overall positive rate as it is low effort, low cost, and low pressure on those you are speaking to.  Informational Meeting Informational meetings are typically held in early September. Thus, planning for these meetings occurs either at the end of previous spring semester or at the beginning of fall semester. These meetings help students understand the group’s mission as well as benefits of being a member of GDSA and AIGA. However, it must also be considered that attendance rates for these meetings are very unpredictable. To draw more students the group should plan on having food available and a speaker from the AIGA to speak directly about the benefits of being a student member.

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Reoccurring Annual Event Students are most interested in joining student groups based on the events that the group hosts. A reoccurring annual event is by far the largest time commitment of any of the strategies researched. Not only is it a large commitment for the officers to plan the event, careful consideration must be kept when keeping records of the event planning for future GDSA officers. However, based on student attendance at former GDSA events and the attendance at the recent Dirty Laundry event, there is a lot of potential for students to become interested in joining the GDSA. This strategy of recruitment would work best if held in late spring, thus getting students excited about the group for the upcoming year. It could also be used as a recruitment strategy in attempts to find new GDSA officers for the upcoming academic year.

Recommendations Based on the information gathered about the five membership recruitment strategies, I would recommend the following plan of action:  Take precautions of using flyers as a method of membership recruitment as they are easily overlooked and often criticized. I would recommend making a list of graphic design classes, times of these classes, and the professors who teach these classes and dividing this information among officers to do classroom visits. Keep in mind, classroom visits should typically be held in the beginning of the semester as that is when freshmen are excited about classes and upperclassman are looking for new ways of getting involved. I would also advise thank you emails or cards be sent to the professors, to insure that professors remain receptive to having the GDSA do classroom visits. Although these recruitment strategies are analyzed separately, limiting yourselves to one strategy means you limit the number of students you reach. My suggestion would be to use classroom speakers, blogging/social networking, and a reoccurring annual event to maximize recruitment potential. In order to keep GDSA officers from going through the process you have dealt with in the last year, I would also advise you to keep officer folders. These folders could contain notes taken at meetings, contacts, and notes on the successfulness of recruitment strategies. Also, if you chose to use a reoccurring annual event as a form of recruitment for the upcoming school year, officer folders would hold valuable information in continuing a shared sense of mission of the GDSA.

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Interview Questions: Steven McCarthy, Lisa Musselman, and Jessica Uhl Steven McCarthy Background Information: Steven has a MFA in Design from Stanford University, a highbred program between the departments of Art and Mechanical Engineering, and a BFA in Sculpture and Drawing from Bradley University. Currently Steven is a professor of Graphic Design at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities Campus. Steven has also previously served as an advisor of the University of Minnesota’s Graphic Design Club – as it was previously named. Interview Format: One on One Interview QAQAQA– QAQAHow many years did you serve as an advisor to the University of Minnesota’s Graphic Design Club? I served as the Club’s faculty advisor for four years. What motivated you to serve the position? Fame and Fortune; No, just service to the program. (Steven has a sense of humor) What kinds of advertising were done to get students interested in joining graphic design club? Flyers, live recruiting to classes, and word of mouth. Were any students notified by email and/or through recommendation from their academic advisor? Yes, Zahra and others in Student Services sent emails to graphic design majors and pre majors. How many members were in Graphic Design Club when you were the advisor? Perhaps twenty five at its peak. We used to have two different levels of membership: the AIGA student rate which cost students $75 plus $5 for the Graphic Design Club fee and the Graphic Design Club without AIGA membership at a rate of $25 Did you notice any trends in numbers of students or the students that were involved in Graphic Design Club and how they these students interacted in the classroom? It really goes on a case by case, but when the club had a charismatic and engaged leader, there was good energy, involvement, activities, ect. When the leader was not, apathy resulted. What year in school were most members of Graphic Design Club?



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Sophomores and juniors primarily; however a couple seniors as well. Do you think that their year in school correlated to their enthusiasm about graphic design club and its events, and if so how? Freshman or pre-majors are not typically too involved, and seniors typically have better things to do such as internships, jobs, and some have a “been there done that” attitude. What was the biggest challenge the Graphic Design Club faced while you served as the advisor? Leadership. One was great, another was a flop. Plus, like most clubs, 10% of members do 90% of the work. What kinds of stipulations and fees were on members of the graphic design club? Depending if they were a member of the group or a member of the group and a student member of AIGA, it varied from $25-$80 What kinds of events did the members of the Graphic Design Club do while you were their advisor? Held fundraisers such as holiday greeting cards, attended events together, organized design firm visits, just to name a few. How were these events received by students, and was there any cost involved? Mostly events cost time and energy, and yes some monetary funds as well. What are some reasons you would give students if someone approached you with questions about joining Graphic Design Club? Like most student clubs, it is what the students make it to be. Faculty advisors give guidance, but it’s not a class. Students choose what to do, and how to do it. Has this happened before, and if so, was it typically in classes or with meetings with students? I’ve found that there are typically two categories of students who gravitate toward club involvement: leaders and followers. A couple of them typically want to be involved, get things done, and make things happen. Most want the comfort of group social interaction and group decision-making. Many good design students do not get involved because their style of thinking and working does not mesh with the ‘club’ concept. Have you ever advertised Graphic Design Club to your classes?


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Yes, of course. Most professors are happy and willing to plug great events. Do you think recruitment rates would increase if student members went and spoke to graphic design classes about the student group? Maybe. Perhaps if the GDSA had a reoccurring annual event they organized, there would be a shared sense of mission.

Lisa Musselman Background Information: Lisa is a senior at the Art Institute downtown Minneapolis. She is an officer of the AI Graphic Design Club, a former president of the club, and the student chair for the AIGA. Lisa had insightful information as she had information about how the Graphic Design Club at AI became a success, as well as how other graphic design student groups in the area are dealing with the same issue of recruitment. Interview Format: Facebook Messaging Interview QAAs a student at AI, how did you initially learn about your schools graphic design club? AI has a “guidance class” or an “orientation class” as part of the programs first quarter. Someone that was already a member of the school’s group came to our class and spoke about the benefits of joining. At that time, the group was not very active and pretty small. What motivated you to join the group? I wanted to be as involved in my education as possible; anything that would help me learn outside of class interested me. Since it was my first quarter, I thought of it as a way to meet people. What kinds of advertising were done to get students interested in joining graphic design club? Posters were placed around the school. The school had an ORG fair where student organizations had a booth so students could see what each group does. Word of Mouth: we would give presentations to classes. Were any students notified by email and/or through recommendation from their academic advisor? Through the academic advisor, yes. The only time that they would be emailed would be when they expressed enough interest to give us their address to send them meeting minutes and news. How many members were in graphic design club at your school?





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At the time that I joined, there were only 5. When I was president of my group, there were as many as 20. Did you notice any trends in student members and how those students typically participated in class discussions? I think that students who really wanted to invest time into their education and future careers took the time to participate. What events did the AI design club do to get you actively involved? We had several screen printing sessions for the group’s members. We had several professionals from the industry either talk to our group or the student body. We invited alumni to come in and talk about their experiences. We had design competitions within the group for these special events. Our biggest event was the Art Auction where we raised more than $2,000 for students to go to Design Camp. Why do you feel these programs were successful and have they been continued after the first year? It really all depends on how the current president wants to run the group. The programs were successful in raising money and getting our group’s name out there. When did you become the Student Representative for AIGA Minnesota? I was chosen Fall of 08 but my “term” started in Jan of 09. What interested you in this position and what are some of your tasks as Student Representative? I was interested in the position because it would put me in contact with many students throughout Minnesota and surrounding areas. I am passionate about getting people excited about design and realizing that there is a larger design community than what the students see in their schools. My responsibilities are to represent students in AIGA board meetings, and to speak on their behalf. I have goals to get students communicating across schools. I am to be a resource for students that need guidance or who are seeking help. I do organize some events like the Student Social during Portfolio 1 to 1. I work with Kolean and Seth to address issues on education. Have you noticed any trends among area graphic design student groups in terms of lack of interests as far as recruitment is concerned? Obviously money is an issue. Students are busy with part-time jobs and homework; this limits the amount of time they can commit. Also, students are in their early 20’s, so they just like to have fun without a lot of commitments.



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What have these groups done or suggestions you have made to help increase recruitment? Show the non-members how active you are and why you believe that this is a group to be involved in. I think that the biggest thing students can do to get more members is to just talk about it to their friends and peers. If you have a friend that truly believes being involved in this group is beneficial, you would be more likely to check it out yourself.

Jessica Uhl Background Information: Jessica is a junior graphic design student at the University of Minnesota. Jessica is full time student and also works twelve hours a week. She is involved in student groups, however not the GDSA. Her perspective will be critical part of the report as it will truly show how to implement suggestions given by interviewees Steven McCarthy and Lisa Musselman. Interview Format: One on One Interview QAQAQAQAQAQAQWhen and in what format did you first hear about Graphic Design Student Association? From another student or a professor Was this method attractive to you, or were you initially turned off by it. It didn't really make me feel one way or the other, although word of mouth is usually a good way of advertising Why did you decide not to join GDSA? Lack of time, not wanting to get involved in another thing Do you feel better advertising and student members or professors telling students about the club may have made you more interested in joining? Better advertising and student members would interest me more Are you involved in other student groups or graphic design programs? Campus Crusade for Christ - no graphic design programs When did you first hear and join these programs, and in which ways have they been beneficial to you as a student? Cru - freshman year, and built great friendships and enhanced my experience at the U Which ways would you find recruitment for GDSA most interesting and if recruitment efforts were made in this way would you be more apt to join the group next term?

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Hearing about it from friends, I will probably join GDSA next year : What kinds of events would you like to see at the beginning of the semester to keep your interest in the group? Different Design related activities that we don't necessarily get to experience in the classroom - speakers, activities etc. What are some other events that you would find most beneficial as a senior in college? Speakers, interaction with design professionals: in fun and academic ways Do you think being a student member of AIGA would be beneficial to you, why or why not? Yes, I can gain access to a lot of useful design information that I won't otherwise easily be able to get If the GDSA hosted events, but occasionally with a fee would you still attend? As long as the fee wasn't too high and the event was worth paying for What is the most amount of money you would consider paying for an event and why? Generally less than $10, but up to $20 As a senior in college, what are you looking to do to both improve yourself as a designer as well as set you apart from other students? Learn as much as I can about the design industry, network and build a great resume and portfolio Do you feel if you became an active member in the GDSA during the 2009-2010 school year you would improve as a designer as well as gain skills that would set you apart from other students that are graduating? Yes, it has that potential What is one area in preparing for jobs that you feel you would need the most guidance in? At this point I feel rather confident because I have taken career planning. However, practicing for an interview would be the biggest thing.


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Do feel that there might potentially be events or networking possibilities through GDSA that would be able to help guide you in your preparation for job searching? Yes, potentially

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References AIGA Membership Benefits” AIGA. Copyright 2009. 26. March. 2009. <> “AIGA UWSTOUT”. Blogspot. 24. March. 2009. 26. March. 2009. “MCAD Design Club.” Blogspot. 16. March 2009. 26. March. 2009. McCarthy, Steven. One on One interview. 26. March. 2009. Musselman, Lisa “AIGA Minnesota Student Community”. Facebook. 17. January. 2009. 26. March. 2009. Musselman, Lisa. Facebook interview. 10.April. 2009. Uhl. Jessica. One on One interview. 8. April. 2009.

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