By Brynn Churchill
Looking to make a quick knight buck? Student’s are now turning to YouCount’s re-launch incentive program, aiming to bring in students of all ages while re-energizing the YouCount student’s know now.
YouCount is a program on St. Michael’s College campus best known for co-sponsoring events, such as bringing in guest speakers. In the past when students attended YouCount events, their knightcard would be swiped, entering their name into the housing lottery. In an effort to increase attendance at YouCount events, organizers have prompted a YouCount re-launch. Changes include integrating YouCount into first year seminars, and using “knight bucks,” redeemable at Friday Night Dry, to enter raffles to win prizes.
“We started knight bucks, where students will receive ‘cash’ for attending and participating in programs,” said Kimoi Seale, Coordinator of Multicultural & International Programs and Educational Initiative involved in the re-launch. “We’re doing a lot of work with the RA’s as well in terms of how to get their residents to programs. I think highlighting the knight bucks and tying that in with Friday Night Dry is a push to get those upper class students involved.”
One main incentive to go to YouCount events is that the more programs you attend, the greater the chance of getting better housing. However, some students don’t even know about this benefit, eliminating the incentive for attendance. “They need to be publicized more” said Katie Leonard, ‘19. She often is unaware until she is required to attend or finds out from peers around campus.
“YouCount is for everyone,” Seale said. “There is a myth amongst seniors that it’s not for seniors, but I think that was more in the past. If you’re going to change culture, it’s much easier to target those students who are coming in. It’s new to them…they absorb things differently than say, students who have been here. However, I think we need to think a little bit more of how we’re going to capture other groups as well.”
Many first year students already see YouCount events as a main part of their academic curriculum, whether that be attending YouCount events on their own with friends, or going as a part of a class.
“As freshman, we have to go to a certain amount of events,” said Bonnie Gills, ’22. “I know some of my professors are requiring me to go to YouCount. It’s important. [YouCount] is supposed to bring together a community.”
This semester, YouCount is piloting with a number of first year seminar professors who are requiring their classes to go to to these programs as a part of the curriculum. Seale said that this integration is just to get the first year cohort more engaged in the programs on campus.
“The whole idea is to just expose students to different ideas that they might not necessarily be aware of, and also to complement the instruction they’re getting in the classroom.”