These past four years of college, I’ve been to the Muenster University Center just about every day for various reasons.
During the hours of 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., any student will find many tables set up by student organizations in order to provide information to the student body and ask for engagement.
Or that’s what I assume they want to do.
I pass each table and I always observe the same thing: these groups are on their phones or talking to their friends. I’ve even played a little game by trying to go up to the table or make eye contact with someone, but no one engages me or asks for a moment of my time to tell me about their group.
I get it, I get annoyed when someone is “bugging” me to try a product or sign a petition, but when I’ve actively showed my interest, no one has approached me.
There was one time I even went up to a group of people I recognized and asked them what they were tabling for, and while one person talked, the rest of the table sat on their phones ignoring me.
Tell me, what is the point of an organization tabling in a student-populated area if its members don’t want to talk to students?
I took a moment to look at the student organizations list on D2L and I saw so many I’d be interested in. I also see these same groups tabling, but there’s no engagement.
As a student who’s involved in a number of organizations, I would use this tactic to get students involved, to get the word out.
I also understand the temptation to be on a phone or laptop, for the purpose of using the time for school work (or checking social media), but it makes tabling ineffective and a waste of the organization’s time.
Not only that, but it’s perceived as rude. If I’m purposefully coming to the table to learn, I don’t want to be overlooked by whatever is on the members’ screens.
This attitude has a ripple effect in that I’ll no longer be interested in learning more about the group or even have a positive feeling toward it.
Maybe the underlying issue here is the technology, but even that’s a stretch.
Student organizations on campus should make more of an effort to use tabling as a way to get more members or increase student involvement. This will increase popularity among the student body, recognition of character and increase student participation in different events on campus.