Businesses create loyalty programs to retain customers, and USF is no exception to this rule. For the last three years, the university has used the Student Rewards Program to increase student turnout at events. It is an incentive-based program for students to attend events in exchange for points and prizes.
The Athletics Department originally created the program exclusively for sports games, however, the program has been recently undertaken by Student Leadership and Engagement (SLE) this year, broadening the types of events that students can earn prizes for.
Kyle Janzen, director of Ticketing and Promotions said, “We reached out to Student Leadership Engagement and proposed the idea of taking this from an athletic-based program, to a university-based program and everyone loved it and got on board.”
Since, the program has received additional funding to purchase student ID swiping machines and prizes. “If you’re going to open it up to more events, you’re going to need more prizes to support those events,” Janzen said.
The program works by creating a record of each time a student attends an event, such as sports games, concerts and shows. Student ID cards are swiped into a machine, which then allows for students to accumulate points. The more points students have, the more chances to earn better prizes.
Currently, SLE provides all of the support for non-athletic events, which includes staffing and execution for the program. At the beginning of the year, SLE, The Athletics Department and Kyle Janzen collectively mapped out the all events and the amount of points each event was worth.
Once students begin to attend events, weekly emails are sent to them, outlining the schedules of upcoming events, the point’s values for each event and where students can claim their prizes.
The point-value of events are weighted according to popularity. The more “popular” an event is (such as a sports game), the fewer points it is worth. Respectively the less popular, the more points it is worth.
Janzen said this set up of point value was designed specifically to encourage participation. “For example, this year women’s basketball games are worth 300 points, and men’s basketball games are worth only 100 points.” According to Janzen, more students attend men’s basketball games than they do for women’s. The Student Rewards Program aims to bring students to sporting events that are lacking attendance.
The Student Rewards Program has grown since it started. During the first year, the program had about 1500 students, and now the program serves over 2000 students.
In the second year, an information board was placed at every event next to the card swipes. The information board is an info center for students to see a breakdown of points, upcoming events, and a listing of top 20 point totals.
Janzen said, “The board helped increase communication to the students, and answer the prominent questions of who many points have been accumulated.”
Hillary Kigar, a junior business hospitality student, is an active participant of the Student Rewards Program and has used it since the program has been established. Kigar said, “I think that this is a great program to have on campus, and I have seen more students attending various events on campus over the years. I actually was not aware that there was a way to track my points, and have not seen an information board at any event.”
Weekly print outs of the membership database are made available for review at tables located at athletic events. The print out gives students an updated readout of their total points.
he prizes distributed include- tee-shirts, back sacks, seat cushions and water bottles. The program also offers raffle prizes, for anyone who gets over 5000 points. The prize in- cluded in the grand raffle include a semester worth of books, $500 to spend at Bon Appetit, an electric scooter, as well as many other prizes.
Janzen said, “We wanted for more students to come out, but we also wanted to increase student retention, and increase participation on campus, this is what has been the driving forces of the program.”
According to Janzen, the idea to include faculty, staff, and alumni rewards program is in consideration. However, there is no funding to execute such an advancement.
Janzen said the overall success of the program has been seen from one year to the next. Prizes have increased and the communications between students and administrators of the rewards programs has improved.
Lindsey Pappas, a senior hospitality major only found out about the event two weeks ago when she attended Midnight Madness. Pappas said, “I never saw any advertising for the rewards program, but when I went to Midnight Madness they were swiping everyone’s cards, I thought it was to verify I was a student, but I came to find out it was for the rewards program.”
Janzen said, “We want to make sure that there is belief in the pro- gram, we want to always stay cre- ative, and execute on our promises with prizes.”
For more info, visit www.face- book.com/studentrewardsprogram
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