When West Virginia University’s men’s and women’s basketball teams take their place on the national stage at this month’s Big East and NCAA tournaments, thousands of alumni, current and potential students, donors and fans will be watching.
And WVU wants to make sure they see the complete picture of a major land grant university, complete with as much of the academics, students and activities that make the University special.
So as Mountaineer fans flock to the various venues in their gold and blue, representatives from WVU—including those from the Alumni Association, the WVU Foundation, WVU Career Services and others—have some goals in mind.
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“Athletics offer us a lot of opportunities to reach students and their families. This exposure helps to build awareness about the University,” said Tricia Petty, associate vice president for University Relations.
WVU’s Office of Undergraduate Student Recruitment agrees, noting that sporting events offer a showcase for undergraduate research, academic programs and state and regional outreach and service.
“While athletic events are definitely a draw for many potential WVU students, research shows that what matters most is academics,” said Jamie Ealy, director of undergraduate recruitment.
Ealy and his staff schedule receptions with potential students and guidance counselors in areas where WVU teams play.
“Anytime we are able to bring WVU to the students, it is a good thing,” Ealy said.
WVU students are also traveling to New York City with WVU’s Career Services Center for the Big East Career Fair, being held at Madison Square Garden March 12. Employers from more than 150 companies will meet with students from all 16 Big East schools. Participating organizations include ESPN, GEICO Insurance, the Internal Revenue Service, Peace Corps and Wells Fargo Financial, among others. A complete list can be found online at: http://bigeastjobfair.org .
Cost of the trip is $150 for two nights and round-trip bus transportation (leaving March 11 and returning March 13). WVU sophomores, juniors, seniors and graduate students are eligible. Students can still visit the WVU Career Services Center Web site for information on how to register at http://careerservices.wvu.edu , or call 304-293-2221 for more information.
Alumni are also welcome to attend the career fair for free by registering online at http://www.bigeastjobfair.org .
For the Big East Tournament, the WVU Alumni Association in conjunction with the Big East conference Alumni Professionals Organization, will coordinate the Big East Tournament Alumni and Fan Extravaganza.
The event will be held from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday, March 11, at the Theatre Lobby of Madison Square Garden. The event includes an all-day buffet with coffee, desserts and cash bar, giveaways and special appearances by the WVU Mountaineer mascot, pep band and University officials. The cost of the event is $30 a person, if paid by March 5, or $35 at the door.
To register, call Gregg Cave at the WVU Alumni Association: 304-293-4731.
WVU will also work with alumni chapters in the area to organize a game-watch party for those who do not have tickets.
“Our alumni do some amazing things, and this is our opportunity to network and engage them. A lot of these events end up functioning like big WVU reunions that bring people together,” said Tara Curtis, assistant director of communications for the WVU Alumni Association.” Any opportunity to reach out and touch them helps build a greater affinity for the University as a whole.
“We want them to know that they may leave Morgantown, but they are never that far away,” she added.
The men’s Big East Tournament is scheduled March 9-13 in Madison Square Garden, New York City. The women’s tournament ends Tuesday (March 9) with WVU facing the University of Connecticut in the XL Center in Hartford, Conn., for the championship.
While the teams are playing, the University will also be using a blend of emerging media, marketing and news vehicles to capture the attention of WVU alumni, fans, prospective students and others—and then driving them to WVU’s primary online news delivery source, wvutoday.wvu.edu, for more.
A 30-second video debuted Monday on the CBS Spectacular board in New York’s Times Square as well as on Macy’s vision screen across from Madison Square Garden and Penn Station. The video will also be shown on the scoreboard rotation at Madison Square Garden, and is expected to run during men’s and women’s televised basketball games during the Big East and NCAA tournaments.
A mobile tracking tool, or QR code, printed on t-shirts worn by students and business cards handed out by senior officials, will also connect new and current audiences to the wvutoday web site. Those with a camera feature on their cell phones will be able to take a picture of the two-dimensional bar code, and their phone’s Internet browser will direct them to the wvutoday home page. (For more information on the video and QR code, click here.)
By Colleen DeHart
WVU News and Information Services
CONTACT: News and Information Services
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