It is hard to know what’s going on around campus when in order to do so you have to be constantly following a social media account or searching through emails to keep up. There are lots of opportunities available for students to attend workshops, events, get free UCR merchandise or even free food. The catch is that you won’t know about these events unless you follow a UCR Instagram handle.
There are 20 UC Riverside school-affiliated Instagram accounts that host events or offer resources for students, and all accounts notify students on this one platform by posting on their page or sharing a story. Using Instagram may seem like an efficient marketing strategy, but it lacks the ability to reach all students. Believe it or not, there are many students who don’t have an Instagram or prefer not to use it during school hours when they are trying to focus. Moreover, it simply does not make sense to have to follow 20 accounts to be in the loop of what’s going on around campus.
If you follow eight Instagram accounts and are cognizant of their posts you can manage to obtain free t-shirts, free stickers, multiple free meals and the chance to attend truly awesome on-campus fairs the school puts on. However, because few students actively follow these accounts, awareness of these activities is generally low. There are too many Instagram handles to follow, emails are too lengthy for some students to sit through and read and the school app also has its share of problems.
While the UCR Guides App has strived to make improvements in its look and availability of resources, not many students have it because it lacks practicality. One flaw with the app is that it is not linked to your school ID. Instead, you have to make a new one which is a substantial missed opportunity for developers. If the app was linked to our school account it could have the potential to display the organizations we are already affiliated with and send us reminders of meetings or events. Unfortunately, most options you can click, whether it be “Student Organizations,” “What’s Happening On Campus?” or “R’Side Events,” all take you to alternate links that are not affiliated with the app, and then, the user has to sign in with their student ID to take an action. I will note that there is an option to “Interact” where some events or workshops have been posted, but there is a lack of consistency.
Most of the 20 UCR handles post daily, but they could just as easily post to the Guides app if it had the option. Students can’t be expected to use the app if it isn’t updated or contributed to on a consistent basis. The app simply does not have what students need, which is a constant, current, up-to-date feed of what’s happening on campus; one place to find everything that’s accessible to everyone. The students deserve a “one-stop-shop” app for all on-campus activities and events to allow us to become more connected as a student body and take advantage of the opportunities we pay for.