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Destler Dodge

You’d be hard-pressed as a member of the RIT community to run out of things to do. With various club, MSO and CAB events, there’s never a dull day on campus. A recent Student Government (SG) project called Project SpiRIT aims to help encourage students to go to particular events.

Project SpiRIT is the brainchild of the SG director of programming and fourth year Biotechnology and Biomedical Sciences student Farid Barquet. His ultimate goal was to support clubs and organizations in advertising their events and help students learn more about those events. On a semester basis, certain events are advertised as SpiRIT events, and offer benefits if students attend them.

Students who attend SpiRIT events accumulate points, which are then tallied at the end of the semester and the top four students win prizes. These aren’t your average, run-of-the mill prizes either; the first place winner has the choice between a flat-screen television, an Xbox One, a Surface Pro or two floor tickets to the upcoming Maroon 5 concert. The second, third and fourth place winners will then decide on the prizes in descending order. While attending an event that's part of the program, a student’s ID will be scanned and the appropriate number of points will be credited to them.

“We feel like if we’re giving out prizes to go to these events, people will be wanting to go to these events more ... We’re trying to figure out how to help clubs increase their attendance,” Barquet said.

Barquet reached out to multiple clubs, asking that if they would like any of their events advertised to contact SG. Although participation wasn’t high this year, Barquet believes more clubs will get involved in future semesters as some clubs were not aware the project was in place until well after its commencement.

“Not every club responded, and actually a lot of clubs have been reaching out now that the project is ongoing, but unfortunately we’re not able to add them to this semester,” Barquet said.

Most clubs have what is called a “Signature Event,” usually planned well in advance. Barquet and SG will incorporate most of these into Project SpiRIT.

Project SpiRIT evolved through different ideas and collaboration within SG. Initially, Barquet had the idea to start SpiRIT weeks during which everyone on campus could be involved. Gradually, this morphed into SpiRIT we have today that goes throughout the semester. Ultimately, this allows students to be more flexible, as some weeks are busier than others.

One of Barquet’s original ideas, SpiRIT Fridays, is still included in the program. Each Friday has a theme, and if students come to the Student Government office dressed as that theme, they will also gain points. By doing so, students can gain points here and there if they are not able to make certain events on campus.

The program doesn’t come without its shortcomings, however. Ensuring that student information is kept private, while also keeping track of attendance in an efficient manner, is a major concern for Barquet. Student Government is currently straining to have members attend each event.

“We feel like [scanning IDs] is the best method, but unless you’re a student employee you’re not allowed to scan student IDs. This means Student Government employees have to be at the events,” Barquet said.

In the future, Barquet also hopes to make point tracking easier for those who inherit the project. Currently, Barquet examines attendance data through Excel. This process is time consuming, and Barquet hopes to replace it with its own software. This may even include leaderboards for students with the most points.

“We’re probably thinking on having actual point standings be displayed on the website ... These things are still in conversation,” Barquet said.

In order to prepare for next semester, Barquet and SG will be reaching out to clubs and organizations to help get their events on the board. This will give students more opportunities to earn points and prizes.