This weekend was the Resource Fair for first-year students at Dominican University, and the University Archives and Special Collections attended for the first time! We knew that the Resource Fair would be a great way for new students to be introduced to what we have to offer them (jobs and research possibilities), and would also be a good opportunity for us to promote our baby social media accounts.
To prepare, we made and ordered several sizes of pinback buttons and made bookmarks with our social media account information on them. We ordered 200 buttons online in the 1 1/4″ size. For images, we used mostly vintage photos of the school, but also made some archives-themed ones. The Office of Student Involvement has a button maker, so we also checked that out for a day and made approximately another 100 or 150 buttons, this time 2 1/4″ inches. These buttons were also vintage photos, and we made some archival themed ones for ourselves and for prizes to entice MLIS students to like and share our posts on social media.
Lastly, we printed off 300 bookmarks to display on the table. We ordered them through Office Services on campus, who were nice enough to squeeze us in on the very busy day before the Fair! We then cut them with our own paper cutter, putting my skills to the test!
To do a lot of the button design work and to make our bookmarks, I did the design work in Canva. I’m not great at Photoshop, and I didn’t want to spend a lot of time messing around with it. I uploaded our photos and some design elements to the site, and downloaded the finished images. I could then upload the finished images to the site we ordered our smaller buttons from, and I found templates online for the larger buttons that I placed the images in. While the button maker was a lot of work, it ended up being pretty fun once we figured out the patterns for it.
I would say that the Resource Fair itself was not super successful. My table neighbor mentioned that in past years it has been either required or incentivized, and this year neither was the case. It was split into two 45 minute sessions, and when students and families weren’t eating lunch, they were encouraged to come see us in the Parmer Atrium. I estimate that I spoke to 75 or 100 people, students and family members included. I probably gave out that many buttons or a few more, since there were some people who didn’t take any and some who took multiples. The Archives table definitely wasn’t as popular as the Wellness Center, Financial Aid, or the Library, but I did get a lot of people coming up to ask what an archive even is, which was a really great outreach opportunity. I did notice that there were more people in the session after their lunch than before.
I would recommend that the Archives go to the Resource Fair next year. There’s not a whole lot that we can do ourselves about low attendance, but I do think it was great to be there and show that we exist! We still have a lot of buttons and bookmarks left over, but I would love to use the buttons as incentives for students to like us on social media, and Steven can take the bookmarks to classes when he does instruction sessions. They can maybe also be left on tables in the library for students to grab while studying.
I’ve attached the general archives images into this post – if you can use them, please do! I also attached what might be my favorite button, which is a photograph of one of our first sisters with the Snapchat flower crown filter over her. I found the flower crown online and then overlaid it in Canva. I hope she doesn’t mind!