The daily consolidation of emails about dance performances, guest speaker presentations, school-sponsored parties, and more can be found in the inbox of every Bates community member in the form of the Bates Today.
The numbers show that the Bates Today is widely read. According to Kim Trauceniek, Associated Dean of Students for Campus Life and a regulator of the Bates Today, “On average, 60-65 percent of students open [the Bates Today email] each day.” She added, “Approximately 25-30 percent of recipients click on something in each day’s email.”
Gabriella Shpilsky ’19 is a part of the first class to experience the Bates Today without previous exposure to the “Announce” listserv. “Every day I skim [the Bates Today] and read anything that is pertinent to me,” Shpilsky said.
David Unterberger ’19, says although he occasionally misses an issue he “almost always read[s] it in Commons if [he’s] up early before class.”
Unlike the “Announce” listserv, the Bates Today is highly organized and regulated. The Campus Life staff compiles and reviews all submissions. A detailed list of rules regarding submissions has been compiled–it can be found at http://quad.bates.edu/guidelines.
In 2014, Nick McCarthy ’15, Audrey Zafirson ’16, and Andrew Segal ’17 led a project to develop a more effective way of mass-communicating with students. The students first collected data about the previous email listserv by surveying Bates peers and facilitating focus groups in order to understand what was wrong with the old system and what they could do to remedy its failings.
The trio found that students had been receiving over 30 emails on many days and that many of the emails pertained to activities many students had little interest in. According to Trauceniek, “many students reported never opening Announce emails or creating filters in Gmail to move them directly into Trash.”
What the students craved, the students received. Bates Today, a single daily email system informing students of each day’s events and of upcoming events, was unveiled during Short Term 2015.
Although the Bates Today has been proven to be effective, the Campus Life staff and the Student Government are proposing more changes to increase communication across campus.
The Quad website, which includes a user-friendly list of each day’s events and announcements, is not heavily utilized, according to survey feedback from the Bates community. The website also includes recent athletics results, a daily Commons menu, weekly weather information for Lewiston, and links to Garnet Gateway, Lyceum, email, and the Bates directory.
The Quad website will be revamped later this spring in order to make it a useful homepage for Bates students, faculty and staff to access necessary Bates-specific resources in one spot. For Campus Life staff members, the goal is to make the Quad as useful to “the college’s internal audiences” as the bates.edu site is for prospective students, alumni and parents.
Trauceniek, speaking on behalf of the Bates Campus Life team, adds that they “would of course like to see higher engagement rates, and hope to in time as people become more accustomed to Bates Today.” She said, “At the end of the day, it’s up to the students to read it if they want to be aware of what’s happening on campus.”