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SFA Marketing important to future enrollment

Published: Jul. 12, 2021 at 6:30 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 12, 2021 at 7:23 PM CDT
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NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) - Universities across the nation know the fall semester is only months away. Marketing directors refer to post COVID-19 plans but are fully aware the virus is still among us. Stephen F. Austin State University is utilizing some reliable as well as new approaches toward the road to recovery.

A trail of prospective university students and their families is a return to normalcy at SFA. On Monday, the third of four Summer Blast events happened. Each one brings about 1,200 visitors to campus, including parent Justine Hollinsworth.

“We’re so excited she can go in person,” said Hollinsworth, who also noted isolation last year was tough on her daughter.

Marketing officer Graham Garner, who started his job at SFA in March of 2021, shared the anticipation.

“We’re intending to return to 100 percent operation. We know a lot of people have not been able to have that this last year,” Garner said. “And in some parts of the country and some institutions, they still won’t be able to do that yet. So, we’re grateful we’re able to do that.”

The Summer Blast guests were led into a lecture hall. A former student started talking of her personal experiences at SFA.

One parent wore a T-shirt with the “Don’t Worry” slogan across the front.

“I think a lot of people are just trying to wait until the last minute before they make a lot of their commitments and decisions, so we recognize that,” Garner said.

Purple Lights Tour is a tried-and-true recruiting method for SFA athletics. This week coaches hit the road to Longview, Houston, and Dallas. For the first time, university leadership will launch a weeklong SFA Road Show to Houston, Dallas, and Austin ... complete with pro baseball games and summer socials. The SFA Road Show hits the road on July 22. They’ll travel in a bus wrapped in SFA swag. The target audience - prospective donors and students.

“Marketing has been something that’s developed and grown. Lots of adaptation, but people are learning,” Garner said.

The marketing techniques are so important for universities. At SFA, up to a 5 percent drop in enrollment in the fall has been predicted. Leadership wants to see that prediction drop.

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