NACA BLOG - School Programming Survey Results - 5/20/2021

​May 20, 2021
Toire Vince, DES
NACA Experience & Events Director

In March, NACA surveyed the key contacts of member schools to assess campus programming trends for the upcoming year. Based on member responses, we can start to see the ways in which the pandemic will continue to impact programming on campus.

Take & Makes Remain a Staple

While they may have been born out of necessity, Take & Make activity kits will remain a staple. They are easy and can be purchased at a relatively low cost per student. A quick search in NACA® 24/7 finds a wide variety of offerings, from string art kits to DIY air plants. Some campuses offer these through an advanced sign-up process and some give them away on a first-come, first-served basis. There really is not a wrong way to Take and Make!

In-Person Interactive Programs Making A Comeback

We also see that in-person interactive programs will be making a comeback, while virtual programs will see a slight decrease. Technology enhancements in the last year will allow escape rooms and such to be done in new ways to bring in remote attendees. Some of the popular virtual programs from this past year will also likely be able to shift to an in-person/hybrid model. NACA Mid Atlantic hosted a Virtual Game Show Fest on May 1 that highlighted game shows that are able to be produced for both in-person and virtual attendees and with hosts on your campus or remotely. If you missed that event and want to see the recording, you can search for it in Encore, NACA's digital library.

Other in person programs may include small attractions like mini-golf or bowling, inflatables, cooking demonstrations, "How To" programs, or artists such as caricaturists or balloon artists. Programs within this category are generally easy to do together as part of a larger event and lend themselves well to any physical distancing and safety requirements that may still be in place in the fall. Without knowing exactly what the fall will look like, it's important to plan conservatively right now to keep events as safe as possible.

Educational Speakers, Workshops, & Lecture Hot Topics

Those that responded to the survey also indicated that lecture and educational speakers will remain a significant part of their usual programs. Hot topics include:

  • Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
  • Mental Health
  • Leadership
  • Wellness
  • Women's Empowerment

If you are looking for speakers or workshops on these topics, you can search NACA® 24/7 by genre/topic. For those that also need training for their staff members, we have recently added Professional Development as a searchable option. Another useful feature is the Call for Programs, which allows you to submit an anonymous request that NACA associate members can respond to based on the parameters that you set in your request (topic, price, location, etc.). It saves you time searching by giving you a succinct list to review with links back to their profiles to view videos and read reviews. If you are not using this feature you are missing out!!

Traditional Entertainment Remains Steady

Traditional entertainment options remain steady, with comedians, musicians, hypnotists, magicians, and illusionists finally being able to travel to campuses again. These artists have mostly spent the last year grounded and are ready to get back to entertaining students. They are the comfort food that we all long for to help us feel normal again.

Overall, the programming survey told us what we have already been hearing anecdotally in our Coffee & Conversations, Peer Affinity Chats and DiversiTEA's, as well as in posts in our NACA Connect Communities. Programming will be impacted by COVID, as we all will continue to be. It's naive to think that such a significant thing will happen and not leave a lasting mark. But we can hold onto the silver linings of the pandemic and become better for it, through our programs and how we produce events for college students both virtually and in-person.

Toire Vince is the Experience & Events director for the National Association for Campus Activities.

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