In a time where we were all forced to isolate and attend ‘Zoom school,’ communicating through online channels became more important than ever. The use of social media, email, and various messaging apps is second nature in a COVID-run world. Ever since students returned to Whittier College campus in August 2021, and again in February 2022, it has been difficult to stay connected with everything happening on our own campus, as clubs and organizations scrambled to stay connected. Events that were previously hosted annually became scarce news, and updates about future events have become sporadic.
It has become more of an issue, however, as the communication at Whittier College has seemingly degraded over time. With online communication being the most important way to spread information on campus, miscommunication — or lack of communication — amongst offices becomes an increasingly bigger problem. Here at the Quaker Campus, we rely on the other offices and organizations on campus in order to deliver news that is relevant, accurate, and timely to our fellow students. When we are unable to get this prompt information, many events fly under our radar, and don’t get the coverage that they deserve.
This becomes increasingly unfortunate when we realize that a lot of our events have either been limited, or had been placed on hold due to the previous event ban that occurred at the start of the Spring semester. There’s only a little bit of time left before the school year ends, and there’s only so much time to fit in everything that students want to do. Waiting three weeks to hear back about an event that is long past is far from relevant, let alone helpful. Waiting to learn about an event on social media has become the norm for Whittier students.
One of our recent events — the Psychedelic Circus, hosted by the Sachsen Society (see a recap of this event on page 7) — was promoted largely through social media, printed flyers around the school, and word-of-mouth. There was no promotion from any official school email until Moanni Leos, a member of the Sachsen Society and one of the organizers of the circus, sent out a mass email the day of to encourage students to attend.
Miscommunication is also a persistent issue. Emails have been sent out throughout the year with miscommunicated deadlines and events coming up, some of the most egregious being an email highlighting the extension of The Greenleaf Review magazine on March 28, with the flier still reading the deadline the day before: March 27. On two separate occasions, for the recent Intersectional Poetry Slam, there was a call to action to perform on Friday, April 4. The Poetry Slam took place on April 8.
“We do our best to communicate correct dates and time for events,” said Vice President of Marketing and Communications Ana Lilia Barraza. “The overall goal is to encourage student participation and engagement. Any errors made were unintentional. I encourage students and other event organizer to reach out to us with any questions or needed corrections.” To reach the communications office, email them directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
There is a lot to be said about the mistakes and miscommunication from our school — one being that there is always room for improvement. Students trying to find immediate answers to pressing requests or questions likely won’t be getting them from emails. Even attempting to reserve a room can take days with severely delayed communication.
Not all of the blame can be placed onto the specific people working in these offices. Barraza explained that the Office of Communications frequently tries to streamline important updates through ‘Poet Update’ emails, but communication is not always flawless, and every team makes mistakes. Whittier College has had a large change in management and professional staff since COVID-19 sent students home for over a year in 2020. Everyone is scrambling to get used to what we can define as the ‘new normal’ and learning how best to communicate with one another. There isn’t an easy or even apparent remedy to this communication issue.
Not all of the blame can be placed onto the specific people working in these offices. Whittier College had a large change in management and professional staff since COVID-19 sent students home for over a year. Everyone is scrambling to get used to what we can define as the ‘new normal’ and learning how best to communicate with one another. There isn’t a quick and easy remedy to this communication issue. All we can start with: directly responding to emails with confusing or unclear information, and getting the corrected updates the Whittier College community needs.
Featured Photo: Sage Amdahl / Quaker Campus