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DUU looks to promote Duke’s Buzz calendar

At its weekly meeting Tuesday night, Duke University Union received a special visit.

Susan Kauffman, director of communications for the office of undergraduate education and Snapper Underwood, Trinity ’08 and special assistant to the dean of undergraduate education, discussed marketing strategies for the Buzz calendar—a student calendar Web site that has been developed for Duke events.

“When I was a student, there was no single place to find out what was going on,” Underwood said. “Buzz is a way for student groups to get the word out about their events.” Although advertising for large-scale events such as LDOC may be easy, buzz is an opportunity for smaller groups that may not have many funds to advertise their events, Underwood added. Recognized student groups are automatically registered with Buzz, and students can select categories from which they want to see events—from “free food and beverages” to “athletics and recreation.”

Both Underwood and Kauffman are happy with buzz’s slow but sure progress. The Web site broke 1,000 visitors in one day recently, which had been an early goal, Underwood said. On average, the Web site receives 500 to 600 visitors each day.

“We’re nowhere near what we’d like to see for student visitors per day,” Underwood said.

Underwood and Kauffman asked DUU members for their feedback on Buzz to increase the number of hits the Web site receives as well as to increase its popularity so that it becomes a major communication tool among Duke students.

Members compared Buzz to other communication Web sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Gmail and Blackboard.

“What I’ve noticed that Facebook has provided is that even if you don’t say you’re attending an event, it still says the event is coming up,” sophomore Rachel Sussman said. DUU members emphasized that students would need a “compelling reason” to use Buzz to start visiting the Web site rather than Facebook or Twitter to learn about upcoming events. In addition, they suggested possible marketing strategies such as advertising on the plasma TVs in The Link or through the Duke Mobile iPhone application.

“It’s just a matter of [Buzz] getting seen around campus,” senior Adam Hinnant said.

Kauffman and Underwood embraced the suggestions openly, emphasizing that they wanted to give the calendar a “student feel” in order to have more students use it. DUU members also discussed their upcoming general body meeting, in which they hope to unite the separate committees of the union.

President Zach Perret, a junior, aims to have a general body meeting each semester so that various DUU committee members can learn about other parts of the organization and decide if they want to join other committees.

“The Union is more than simply each individual committee,” Perret said. “The general body meeting will bring people together, expose [committees] to one another, and make the union improve as a whole.”


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