This past Friday, United States Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts spoke at Boston College about economic inequality in the U.S. as part of a conference hosted by the Jesuit Institute. Warren is a significant political figure, so bringing her to campus is a feat that deserves commendation. She is a highly sought-after voice in the Senate and may contribute to the political atmosphere on campus with her presence. These are the kind of speakers that groups should strive to bring to BC in order to foster the most interesting and relevant events possible.
The majority of attendees at the talk were alumni and non-college students. This is surprising considering the Warren’s stature in American politics and the relative political engagement of BC students. As Warren is one of the most impressive speakers offered this semester, more BC students should have taken advantage of the opportunity to hear her. If more students had been aware of the talk, this most likely would have happened.
The fact that the student body didn’t widely know about the talk continues a negative trend for some speakers at BC. In an earlier editorial, The Heights pointed out how a talk by a number of local mayors was sparsely attended by students. This is part of a continuing issue with event promotion. Many BC students are not even aware of speakers such as Warren, and the local mayors earlier this year. As mentioned in the other editorial, this occurred last year as well with the president of the Philippines, who spoke at Robsham.
A number of student groups exemplify the most effective means of publicizing their events. Events, such as the recent BC Talks forum or the Asian Caucus’ John Cho talk, have been well-attended by students because the information was widely disseminated via social media, primarily. This same methodology should be applied by BC groups such as the Jesuit Institute.
Student attendance must be boosted at these events in order for various BC groups to be able to continue securing quality speakers. If speakers come to BC and find little interest and attendance, this reflects negatively on the student body and makes the chances of having future events lower. Because of this, speakers should be heavily advertised through more than just flyers. Emails and social media should be used to ensure that students are fully informed of the many opportunities on campus see high-demand speakers.
Whenever a group successfully brings one of these speakers to campus, it should immediately turn to promoting the event aggressively and boosting attendance as much as possible. This not only makes the event itself more successful, but boosts the relevance of the group itself and increases its chances of holding similar events in the future.
Featured Image by Amelie Trieu / Heights Editor