For one week in February, hundreds or even thousands of people travel to Moscow for the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival.
Many of these visitors are prospective students who get a brief look at the University of Idaho and the rest of the community during their stay. The Jazz Fest is a big deal for these students, and most of them leave with fond memories of the university as a result.
Unfortunately, some people who are usually at UI don”t regard it as fondly. Whenever Jazz Fest rolls around, faculty, staff and students seem to complain about the longer lines at the store or the new crowds of people on campus. People who don”t engage in the festival often don”t consider how important the Jazz Fest is for many people in those crowds, or realize what those crowds could mean for them.
Many of the students who visit UI for the Jazz Fest get so much out of their experience, it makes them want to pick the university as the place to continue into higher education. The Jazz Fest is a powerful recruitment effort, and that should mean a lot to current UI students, faculty and staff.
UI President Chuck Staben has made it clear that increasing enrollment is a big priority for the university. He”s also explained that UI students and employees should care about increasing enrollment as well. More students enrolled at the university means more money is going into the university, which means lower costs for students and higher salaries for faculty and staff.
Along with retention, recruitment is one of the most effective ways to increase enrollment at UI, and the Jazz Fest is a great way to recruit students even though it isn”t an official recruitment event.
But the impact of the event as a recruitment effort is smaller when people in the community can only see how the Jazz Fest is a pain for them. A visiting student”s good impression of UI can fade quickly if they encounter enough locals with bad attitudes.
UI students, faculty and staff shouldn”t have bad attitudes though, because a good turnout at the Jazz Fest could mean good things for them and UI”s future. Even though many of the visiting students don”t end up at the university when they go to college, the people of UI should at least take the Jazz Fest as an opportunity to showcase the community they love so much to the travelers.
Vandals shouldn”t be frustrated with their university welcoming so many visitors each year. They should be proud that their university plays host to such a large and influential event that impacts thousands of people on a yearly basis.