The importance of student involvement

Selena McPherson/The News

The staff editorial is the majority opinion of The Murray State News Editorial Board.

Selena McPherson/The News

Selena McPherson/The News

As we all know by now, college isn’t just about going to class and getting a degree; if that’s all college is to you, your priorities may be skewed.

Student involvement in on-campus events and collegiate organizations is more than just a good time – it’s often paramount to a student’s success.

When students get involved on campus, the benefits include, “improved satisfaction with college and higher retention rates, increased confidence … and a stronger drive to achieve,” according to a 2003 study by Pritchard and Wilson.

Going to Murray State events and getting involved in clubs offers us a unique opportunity to get to know people with similar interests. It allows us to feel more connected to the university and the people who attend it with us.

Simply put: if our college experiences only consist of class and the four walls of our bedrooms, we suffer. We suffer, event hosts suffer and the entertainment act itself suffers.

There are usually two main causes of an event’s failure: students didn’t care enough to go or they didn’t know about the event in the first place. Frankly, the success of an event isn’t completely dependent on student involvement or apathy.

Some events on Murray State’s campus get so much promotion that everyone seems to be talking about it – recent examples of this would be Chris Thile and Todrick Hall. You couldn’t walk 10 feet on this campus without seeing a promotional flier, and not a day went by when a social media post about them didn’t pop up in everyone’s news feed.

Other acts never received the same kindness. YouTube sensation and singer Noah Guthrie, for example, performed at Murray State twice – once in the 2012-13 school year and again in 2013-14. Both times there was little to no advertising for the event – no fliers at all and minimal/no social media posts. The second time he performed, fewer than 10 people showed up and he said coming to universities like Murray State humbled him (not in the good way).

We understand that budgets are tight and SGA/CAB can’t go all out in promotional efforts for every single event, but there’s no excuse for doing absolutely nothing, especially when social media promotion is free.

Students can only attend events if they know about them, and they’re only inclined to attend events if they know about the person/people performing – it’s Marketing/Advertising 101.

We also understand the concept behind catering to a niche audience. Why bring in acts nobody wants to go to, right? Exactly. But just because we’re in Western Kentucky absolutely doesn’t mean a majority of the acts should be white country singers.

Aside from all the promotion the event got, Todrick Hall was likely a huge success because it was something different – something students don’t usually have access to at Murray State. 

Change it up, Murray State. Listen to your students, and consider asking us what we want in the first place. Send out surveys and polls.

Find out what actually interests us instead of just taking a guess or sticking with what’s comfortable.

And students: make an effort to get more involved at Murray State. Whether you’re just attending the Drag Show or joining a club – it’s all important.

Don’t step off the stage at graduation and have the moment of realization that you experienced nothing outside the classroom. These four years are supposed to be the greatest years of our lives, so let’s not squander them.