Student chalking faces new regulations



Julie Balzarini

The Office of Student Development has modified student organizations’ use of sidewalk chalk to advertise events. Student groups looking to utilize this type of publicity are now required to fill out a form in 217 Dougherty Hall to reserve space for their chalking.

“We received complaints from different people across campus who felt it looked sloppy,” said Tom Mogan, director of Student Development. “Last year, it just got out of control.”

The staff was especially concerned that chalking would go overboard with the election coming up.

“It’s fine if legitimate student groups are doing it, but people were beginning to do it without authorization,” Mogan said.

Members of the Office of Student Development were split over completely banning chalking.

“Our initial decision was to ban it, until we were able to talk with student leaders to see if there were other ways to do this,” Mogan said.

According to Mogan, Phil O’Neill, assistant director for Fraternity and Sorority Life, e-mailed the sororities and fraternities to inform them of the temporary ban and the staff’s plan to discuss options.

“This raised some concerns with students, so I met with Bryan Wagner and Rob Dormish, and they also expressed concerns that student organizations had gone to them with,” Mogan said. “They told me about how difficult it is for organizations to publicize their activities.”

The staff realized they could let the chalking go, ban it or control it with a reservation system.

“Hearing that groups feel it is a creative way to publicize their events, we realized it’s something they enjoy doing and are very excited about,” Mogan said. “So, we decided to formalize a reservation system.”

Senior Paul Martucci, the 2008 Special Olympics media and publicity chair and CAT’s director of promotion and public relations, had a mixed reaction to the change.

“It’s a little bit of an inconvenience, but I see why they are doing it,” Martucci said. “I’m glad they didn’t ban it though. That would have been a mistake.”

CAT already felt the effects of the new policy when advertising for Tuesday’s concert.

“It was really easy; it just asks for your name, the name of the organization and the event you are advertising for,” Martucci said. “But it was a little annoying that they wanted a sketch of what it will look like.”

Student organizations are no longer allowed to write on the steps leading up to the Oreo.

“We probably would have advertised on the steps because I think people notice it more, but they said we aren’t allowed to,” Martucci said.

Martucci also looked forward to how this change will affect the image of the University.

“It will be interesting to see how it plays out with the election,” he said. “If I’m a high school student coming to a college campus two weeks before the election and I don’t see something about it, I’m going to think, are they apathetic, do they just not care?”

Students showed mixed reactions to the change.

“It won’t really affect my attendance at any events,” sophomore Zach Granelli said, “I usually find out about things I want to go to from the NewsWire or e-mails, not from seeing the chalk.”

Other students seemed concerned. “I don’t think it should be regulated so strictly,” sophomore Allison Webb said. “It’s a way for student organizations to take pride in their events.”

The system will have to allow for flexibility, such as dealing with chalk advertisements being rained on.

“The goal is to make sure that it is kept under control in a central area where it will be most effective and also keep our campus beautiful,” Mogan said.