Hundreds of student ambassadors and volunteers from every faculty giving their time. Guided tours. Multiple stages with expert academics hosting Q&As for eager future students… sounds like the usual Open Day, right?
Well, not exactly. This year – as you might have noticed – things are a little different.
Open Day is the University’s biggest recruitment event, traditionally attracting 8000+ people to the campus each year for a mind-boggling schedule of activities and activations (a ‘massive beast’, is how the Future Students team describes it).
This year, with COVID-19 limiting face-to-face events, the Future Students team is aiming for 10,000 people to join Open Day Streamed on Saturday 15 August.
The switch to online recruitment events has required a lot of innovative thinking, as Maria Kirkpatrick-Jones, Director (Undergraduate) explains.
“We’ve had to rethink how we would deliver all our events, not knowing how long COVID and its associated restrictions would last,” she says. “It’s not just about lifting physical events and putting them online. We had to analyse what we are trying to get out of these events in order to rethink and engage with our audiences effectively.”
One of the biggest challenges has been the rapid upskilling of our student ambassadors – a team of enthusiastic Macquarie students who provide first-hand advice and insights to people considering study at Macquarie.
“Our ambassadors are trained at the beginning of the year and we focus on personal communication and face-to-face presentation skills – so they’re used to talking to people, not to camera,” says Maria. “We had to quickly skill them up on filming and on-camera presentation techniques and they’ve done an amazing job with this.”
Another priority item that needed a rapid solution? An amazing Open Day website to keep attendees online and help them navigate the campus virtually. The result? Working closely with Group Marketing, a mammoth collaborative effort led to the creation of an incredible purpose-built site, incorporating gamification to help keep young audiences engaged.
The centrepiece for Open Day Streamed will be the live broadcast, with student hosts manning the Studio Central and chatting with academics and university representatives, Today Show style. Pre-recorded segments will showcase all the University has to offer, and live Q&A sessions will provide personalised advice.
Far from seeing the change to online as a setback, the Future Students team is excited about being able to reach new audiences in the new format.
“For the first time, our Open Day will be more inclusive and accessible to regional and international students,” says Future Students Project Coordinator Leisa Griffin. “It’s fantastic.”
Students who register for Open Day Streamed will go into the draw to win a $1000 JB Hi-Fi Voucher.