Students overloaded with info

Students+overloaded+with+info

Riley Garland

Every morning, I begin my day rolling over in bed to check my notifications. Several emails from the school light up my screen regarding public safety announcements, intramurals or sales at the bookstore. None of them will be opened. Soon after, as I leave my dorm room, I pass several posters in the hallway, plastered with information about activities and clubs on campus. Not a glance. As I enter the elevator, the RA board passes through my peripheral, covered in crafty tips for students to stay successful. Maybe I should read it sometime. Within minutes, I am strolling through Jamrich, past several tables and booths set up by student organizations, and countless posters dangling on the wall advertising a variety of organizations. Yet, none of it catches my attention. With so much missed opportunity fading behind, why continue to blur it all out? Two words: information overload.

NMU undoubtedly has a very engaged and active student body for a college of its size, with countless student organizations and university-sponsored groups holding events. Yet, it may be to a fault. Because of the sheer amount of advertising and information we as students are exposed to on a daily basis, it becomes difficult to keep it from blurring into the setting. In consequence, unique and interesting events held on campus struggle to draw an audience. It’s not necessarily because the events lack appeal, but more because students don’t know what’s going on. This is caused by a frustrating paradox: too much information causes people to shut everything out, as opposed to filtering out what they deem important. In short, too much advertising means less people paying
attention.

With this in mind, how could the university go about keeping an informed student body
without the constant bombardment of information? For starters, book store email spams need to go, along with all the unnecessary marketing for NMU merchandise. Secondly, students have a general idea of what they’re interested in. The university should channel similar events and organizations into email lists. During freshman orientation, when new students sift through the list of registered student organizations to mark interests, they ought to be given a list of general interests to checkmark. This way, students who mark an interest for, say, “Politics,” will only receive emails about politically-related events on campus, while avoiding all the other junk mail. Without the barrage of irrelevant information, they will have incentive to actually check their mail. Lastly, student groups should be responsible for taking down fliers once their events pass. Upon close inspection, many of the posters currently covering the bulletins advertise events that have passed. Unfortunately, nobody seems to be taking the expired advertisements down, creating more clutter than there ought to be. If organizations that didn’t take their fliers down were suspended from advertising in the future, this problem may
disappear.

Smart distribution and responsible advertising offer a solution to this increasingly irritating issue. Until then, though, university emails are getting auto-routed to my spam folder.