As COVID restrictions ease staff search for ways to reengage students

Ziad Almuzaini, Student Reporter

COVID-19 took a big hit on extra-curricular activities and clubs at Landmark College were victims of this. Clubs/activities took a big toll in participation and engagement as participation fell significantly because many students were afraid or uncomfortable to leave their rooms.  An email issued from the Student digest on 2/19/2022, for example stated, “The lack of students participating in many programs is very saddening and it is not beneficial to our community, our campus, and each other.” As we emerge from the acute phase of the pandemic, we wonder how it affected the clubs and how they recovered. What are clubs doing differently currently, and what are they willing to do differently in the future? What are the main issues directly affecting student engagement, and how can we solve this? What are the solutions to this issue, and what can be fixed? How can we get students that are unengaged with activities engaged again?  In this column, we will delve deeper into the key issues surrounding the lack of engagement in clubs/extracurriculars. We will also discuss what can be achieved in this short period.

Sometimes it may not cross your mind; you become so busy you forget about the activities and clubs around campus. Can it be from laziness? Can it be from “COVID Fatigue”? Those could be the reasons. The main issue is, how can Landmark influence current and new students to join clubs? We made sure to do a survey around campus which revealed a consensus of the need for easier access to the activities schedule and bus schedule. A needs assessment and an interview with a student was conducted on Sept. 24th, 2022. The needs assessment included three important stakeholders on the Landmark campus, Emily North- Director of Student Activities, Chris Lenois- Director of Marketing Communications, and Eric Matte- Chair of Professional Studies. An interview was also conducted with club leader Zach Hahn on the issue of the E-Sports Club. We asked them general questions about student engagement around campus and how we could increase awareness.

The first person we interviewed in this needs assessment was Emily North, who stated, “People are willing to go to an activity if it includes free food.” She mentioned that not a lot of people liked to go to educational activities; most of them only did it if it benefited their grades. North seemed to understand what students liked and what they didn’t like. Having understood this, she set up activities such as glow parties and other parties every month. She made sure to include free food as this was another factor of why students would go. She even mentioned ways to engage with ads and better ways of delivering ads to students. She brought up an effective way of trying to interest students in the campaign, including setting up stations on campus with flyers and helpers that could engage with students if they have questions about it.  Emily has even suggested word of mouth around campus. North suggested Discord, which is like Microsoft Teams but for gaming. A lot of students would use word of mouth to communicate on the server; for instance, activities and clubs could be broadcasted to students on the server, and people would opt in and opt out of them if they wished.

Our next client in the needs assessment was Chris Lenois who works with the marketing program and promotes at, the student news site of Landmark College. Lenois was asked about effective ways to market the campus-wide campaign. He was the person that suggested word of mouth on campus. Lenois has also brought up the idea of doing pamphlets around campus. He recommended we use a different shape or format for the brochure to attract students. Changing the shape of the brochure, for example, may attract students to the campaign. Lastly, Lenois talked about social media usage and the effect it had on people looking to apply to Landmark College. We talked about platforms such as Facebook and Instagram and what made them different from apps such as Tik Tok.   He also mentioned that students like personal testimony of experience at Landmark College.

It seems that both Instagram and Facebook were easier to post a personal testimonial than Tik Tok. Lenois said that “We’re going into the Wild West if Landmark were to go into Tik Tok.” When it comes to advertising something there is a balance between just right and too much. For Landmark, Chris seemed comfortable with Facebook and Instagram as he wasn’t a fan of advertising Landmark College too much. He wanted to strike a balance because he knows the audience he was dealing with.

Our last client was Eric Matte, who is the chair of the Professional Studies department. Matte primarily focuses on the COMEL (Communication and Entrepreneurial Leadership) area of the Professional Studies program and works with WLMC, which is the radio section of Voices. WLMC is the first neurodiverse radio station in the world that has music, talk shows, and WLMC original audible shows.

Matte was asked a couple of questions about the effectiveness of the promotional PSAs on his show. He brought up that not many people on campus listen to the show, it is mostly people from outside the college tuning in. This poses a bit of a problem since most PSAs on the show are directed toward students. To address this issue, WLMC is currently working on installing overhead speakers in the student center to enhance the availability of content to students.

Matte also talked about how to make ads, and PSAs available in a different format. The only way WLMC would be able to get their ads out there was either on family weekends or if students went to the student center often. Unfortunately, not many options were on the table other than installing speakers in the student center.

This was the extent of the needs assessment; next is the student interview that was done. We interviewed Zach Hann about his personal experience with handling a club. This club is the E-Sports of Landmark.  Speaking on the state of the club Hann mentioned, “We haven’t been able to get into the E-Sports room because no one gave us the code into the room until now. Things have been unclear until now, but thankfully we were able to get the gears going for the club.” Another issue the club faced was budget issues, they have a budget but do not know how to spend it. As Hahn observed, “We don’t know how to use our budget since we are an online club.” Being mostly online has caused a few issues, but the club faces no further issues after student leadership and staff were able to successfully get it running after many years. The club will play Rocket League until next semester when games usually shift to another genre. Some genres haven’t been approved yet, so the club will have to wait for approval.

Clubs are important, but people’s engagement is even more important. It is a way to meet new people and to connect through the same interest. Most importantly it keeps us busy in our everyday lives.  There is nothing wrong with staying in your room, but for others, they don’t feel as comfortable. Someone may be nervous and think that they don’t belong, but that’s not true. Take the time to join a club and remember it’s about having fun. If you’re not having fun, then create a club you’ve never seen. Don’t be afraid to engage with the community, there are people out there willing to listen.



  Christopher Lenois Director of Marketing & Communication

    Eric Matte Chair of Professional Studies

    Emily North Director of Student Activities