A for Alzheimer’s Disease Research Breakthrough: The Case Western Reserve University community was in good spirits during the month of February, when the CWRU School of Medicine announced a key research breakthrough in Alzheimer’s disease. CWRU professor of neurosciences Gary Landreth and his research colleagues discovered a drug previously approved for cancer treatment successfully improved memory and behavior in animal models. Upon the discovery’s announcement, CWRU attained national media coverage and Spartan pride across the university drastically increased. More importantly, the emerging research offered hope to patients and loved ones affected by the relentless disease.
B for Bookstore Mostly Pleases: When students returned from spring break, they were welcomed by the highly anticipated opening of the new Barnes & Noble campus bookstore. Nestled within the Uptown development project, the new location replaced the old campus bookstore previously found in the Thwing Student Center. Supplementing its wide array of books, the aesthetically pleasing storefront makes a welcoming impression, which is appreciated by current and prospective students alike.
While some concerns have been expressed regarding the quality of the bookstore café, students have reported positive experiences on their more recent visits. Future additions to the development project include Constantino’s Market, which is expected to open in April, and dining options such as Panera, Chipotle, and Jimmy John’s.
C for Campus Cable Changes: Last summer the undergraduate community was informed that cable on campus would be undergoing change, and students were solicited for their opinion. However, the transition has been anything but smooth. Though the new provider offers its customers a selection (albeit small) of high definition channels and allows Student Affairs Information Technology (IT) to utilize existing hardware in the residence halls, many students continue to assert that change isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
Momentary service disruptions were especially prevalent at the beginning of the semester and impacted important television events such as the Super Bowl. However, Student Affairs IT has remained diligent in addressing the disruptions, while the Residence Hall Association (RHA) played critical roles in seeing that student expectations for programming were met and service issues were resolved.
I for Ineffective Marketing: At the beginning of the spring semester, students began to notice strange signs emerging across campus. Cutouts of seemingly random objects, such as donuts, shovels, and keys, soon lined the Case Quad, Kelvin Smith Library Oval, and Health Sciences campus. The signage and accompanying distribution of donuts definitely turned heads; however, many students were not aware of the reason behind the hubbub. The driving force for the marketing campaign was the university’s 2010-2011 Annual Report, branded as “Who Would Have Thought?”
While stunning graphics and video were used as vehicles to communicate the report, the signs scattered across campus seemed to confuse students, who often lacked information regarding their purpose. Students who were aware that the signs represented some of the university’s recent discoveries often remarked that the symbols were too “cute” and diminished the impact of the research. Therefore, while internal marketing is valuable to the university, it helps if its intended audience is either directly or indirectly made aware of the campaign’s purpose.
F for the Forgotten: Ignite Movie Channel: One of the benefits of attending a school where creative minds flourish is that their creativity often leads to fantastic services for everyone else, and Ignite TV’s Movie Channel and corresponding On Demand service are not exceptions to this rule. Funded this past year by the CWRU Media Board and RHA, the services allow students to watch many recent box office hits and timeless classics for free.
However, with expensive licensing costs and a lack of university support, the services are in a funding crisis. Many students remain unaware that such an entertainment outlet exists, and student groups have failed to tap into the advertising potential accompanying this media vehicle.