Relations Department discusses college recruitment plans

Maris Lambie, Reporter

On Thursday, Feb. 26, a small crowd of students and faculty members gathered to listen to SUNY Buffalo State’s Tim Walsh talk about the college’s marketing plans to recruit new students. The event took place in the Butler Library room 210.

Walsh has been the vice president of college relations since 2008. This was the third talk this year that Walsh has given on the subject.

“There’s more down the road if there is an interest,” said Walsh. “We’re trying to show what our strategies are and enhance our presence in the community.”

“Buffalo State has a positive reputation within Western New York and has been attracting increased numbers of applications and enrolled students from the metro New York City region over the past few years,” said Walsh. “Applications for the Fall 2014 semester were at a record high. This is due to a mix of the Admissions Office recruitment efforts, College Relations’ integrated marketing approach and students understanding the smart investment of a SUNY tuition and city-based location in the Elmwood Village.”

The College Relations department works as an in-house marketing agency with assistance from the Office of Admissions.

“Our College Relations team works closely with the Office of Admissions to assist in their strategies to present Buffalo State as a great choice for people to consider applying to,” Walsh said.

Both departments use more than nine marketing channels of communication to get in touch with high school graduates, grad students and transfer students, including TV, radio and newspaper ads, national college sites, as well as a new shift towards social media.

“We want to see what’s being said about Buffalo State,” Walsh said.

“Buffalo State has dramatically shifted marketing funding resources from traditional media channels including newspaper, billboard and direct mail to digital media programming including social media and college search sites,” said Walsh. “These vehicles provide specific target criteria matching along with measurable results, including direct leads for Admissions.  We are also increasing Buffalo State’s presence through video and television opportunities.”

Video opportunities include short clips of professors and students sharing their stories about Buffalo State. The videos can be seen on Buffalo State’s website.

“We’re always looking for new ideas to shift things,” Walsh said.

The shift towards marketing the college on social media and websites helps to create a stronger connection between potential students and the school.

“A college campus marketing team could have several hundred thousands of dollars to put a robust marketing plan together,” Walsh said. “However, ‘word-of-mouth marketing’ and a solid reputation where our own faculty, staff, alumni and students are saying good things about what happens here every day is critical. Those stories of how we believe in Buffalo State are the best marketing techniques. If you think about it, most colleges and universities don’t thrive because of a tag line that draws students to apply and spend four years here.”

According to Walsh, the College Relations department’s goal for next semester is to “assist the college in attracting a good mix of students that help the campus to remain vibrant.” Walsh said he hoped to recruit students that will engage with their professors and classmates around them.

“We are bringing in students who want a chance to seek out excellence in their learning through all kinds of engagement experiences that make a difference for them personally and within their communities.”



Maris Lambie can be reached via email at [email protected]