This month, Yale University is using a Virtual Event Bag for their university orientation. Both college freshman and first year graduate students will be receiving access to the bag when they arrive on campus. In addition to distributing local business offers, Yale staff used their bag to convey university information such as safety policies, a visitors guide, and more.
Read on to learn how Alyssa Seifert positioned Yale’s orientation bag to sponsors and what problems the bag is solving for the university
Q. Can you explain what problems your Virtual Event Bag is solving for your staff?
A. Previously, orientation staff would spend a great deal of time and money collecting, printing, and organizing paper advertisements and coupons. We would put these into books and bags, and most students disregarded them. We sought to avoid these inefficiencies and cut down on waste, yet still expose new students to the best parts of the university and city. We decided to leverage tools that students frequently use – smartphones. We’re committed to making orientation as fun, accessible, informative, and sustainable as possible. Virtual Event Bags has been an excellent way for us to achieve those goals. An added bonus of Virtual Event Bags is that local businesses will get useful metrics on how their offers brought in business. This strengthens the symbiotic relationship between Yale and [the town of] New Haven.
Q. How did you position the bag to local businesses?
A. Yale Graduate Student Life (GSL) representatives met with representatives from various merchant associations to pitch them the idea. These merchant associations then trickled information down to business within their association. As GSL has existed at Yale for 16 years, we have numerous contacts for amenities on and around campus. Thus, we were able to use a recognizable email address to send out the invites. We were also vocal around town – luckily most GSL staff are outgoing – and picked up various business cards to invite people.
To summarize, you can use Virtual Event Bags in creative ways. Networking in your community is a great way to build long-term business relationships. When a sponsor knows you personally, it’s a lot harder for that sponsor to press the delete button on an email. Like Seifert, going the extra mile and presenting your ideas in person can be a great way to secure funds for your event.