Recruiting in Calgary

A series of snappy ads have popped up around Calgary encouraging high school students there to attend the U of S.

By Colleen MacPherson

"If only we had a nickel back for every Alberta student that chooses us" reads one of the posters installed in strategically selected bus shelters and CTrain stations around the city. Others include "No cowboy hats required," "Join the stampede of students applying to the U of S," and "Dinos are so 200 million years ago."

For Dan Seneker, manager of undergraduate recruitment in the Students and Enrolment Services Division (SESD), the ads "are completely different from anything we've done before. We could have done the same old standard university ads but our feeling was we should push the envelope a bit and get people talking about us."

He added his favourite of the ad series reads, "When you want to move away from home … but not to Edmonton."

The U of S has typically done well recruiting in the Calgary market, said Seneker. "There's lots of interest about us in that market, we have a lot of ties with high schools there and high school counselors and it's a huge market in terms of our alumni base."

While student recruitment is the main goal of the ad campaign, Seneker said a secondary objective is "to attract the attention of our graduates who live in Calgary and get them working as our ambassadors."

Created by the marketing and communications group in Advancement and Community Engagement, the ad series was installed in 37 transit locations around the city. Seneker said the sites were selected based on proximity to the University of Calgary, various high schools and even malls, "places where young people gather." They will remain in place for a month.

Each ad encourages potential students to explore a unique website set up for the campaign. "This allows us to track hits on the site and to follow how that translates into inquiries, applications and ultimately to how many of those students join us in the fall."