“This is a first,” legendary MSU men’s basketball coach Tom Izzo said in his address to Admissions Day attendees at the Breslin Center. “How cool and exciting for all of us!”
On April 16, MSU kicked off a new tradition with Admitted Student Day: an exciting one-day event on campus attended by more than 7,000 people from 37 states and three countries, including 2,313 admitted students and their guests.
Admitted Student Day is the first event of its kind and scale at MSU. It was a great celebration of admitted students and their families with current students, faculty, and staff coming together to welcome them to the MSU community. The day began with more than 100 unique open houses on campus and a student life fair at the Breslin Center with more than 75 student organizations. From there, admitted students enjoyed a pre-show and pep rally featuring speakers like President Samuel Stanley and Coach Izzo, then headed to Spartan Stadium to watch the game. green and white spring football boots.
It was a powerful way to immerse admitted students into Spartan life. And this brand new event was developed, planned and executed in just eight weeks.
The Admissions Marketing team prepares to welcome students to the Breslin Center (left to right: Hannah Shatara, Michael Brichta and Julia Janssen)
Julia Janssen, Director of Marketing and Communications at MSU’s Office of Admissions, is an instrumental leader in the achievement and success of Admitted Students’ Day. She joined MSU 10 years ago after working seven seasons in minor league baseball as director of marketing for the Lansing Lugnuts. Originally a one-person marketing team, she now leads a group of 10 people within the admissions marketing and communications team to meet the recruitment demands of today’s economy. today.
“Many universities offer one-day variations of admitted students, and that’s something I’ve always wanted to do at MSU,” Janssen said. “Maybe I had a unique view of it through my experience in entertaining at the Lansing Lugnuts, but I knew a big event like this could be so emotionally powerful. We have facilities and amazing research on campus, and we wanted to highlight that in a fun way and feature current students as much as possible.
Planning and partnership
Given that there were COVID restrictions on in-person visitation capacity for most of the MSU admissions recruitment cycle, Janssen and the admissions department were determined to find a way to meet the demand for visits. on campus before the admitted student decision deadline of May 1. “Once we knew the COVID protocols had been lifted and approved, we really had about eight weeks to plan everything out,” she said.
While refining the vision for the event and collaborating to rapidly develop the project schedule and tasks, Janssen and the Admissions Event Coordinators also began reaching out to partners in many other departments and colleges. “The biggest challenge with any new event is building awareness and buy-in across campus,” Janssen said. “Sharing our vision and asking the colleges to create something new and unique, especially for these many guests on short notice, was a big ask – it could never have happened without the rest of campus rallies to the concept of the day.”
A brand new challenge for the admissions office was to prepare an event for up to 10,000 guests, with adequate parking, food and refreshments, and more. In addition to solving intense logistical challenges, another challenge was balancing promoting the event quickly while securing a large number of campus partner attendees, student organizations and more.
“This event was a success because all of our campus partners embraced the idea of showcasing their programs or facilities to students in a new way, despite the challenges of planning so quickly,” Janssen said. “Provost Teresa Woodruff was enthusiastic about the program from the start and really helped us get more attention and participation on campus.”
Spartan Spirit Celebration
After attending open houses on campus, admitted students and their guests gathered at the Breslin Center to learn about different MSU departments and student organizations at the Student Life Fair.
Afterwards, the celebration kicked off with a pre-show and cheering rally featuring fan favorites like Sparty and Zeke the Wonder Dog and performances by award-winning student a cappella band Accafellas and the dance crew and MSU Spirit Squad dance club. Speakers from the Disability Resource Center, student organization Solar Car Racing Team, and freshman Cornerstone Engineering and Residential Experience also introduced their groups to the crowd of admitted students.
Meanwhile, things were moving at lightning speed behind the scenes. “I was leading the cheer rally, so I was wearing headphones and signaling guests, microphones, music, lights and video,” Janssen said. “I didn’t know I was going to do this, so it was a bit of a steep learning curve under pressure. I was definitely sweating the whole cheer rally!
President Stanley came to greet students and share his dedication to making MSU a safe and welcoming campus for all and a “destination where people want to come because they know they can be successful,” due to lifetime support that the students receive. He was followed by coach Tom Izzo, who has been at MSU for 38 years. He spoke about the diversity of the university, the beautiful campus and the friendly and supportive Spartan community. “I want to tell you, I wouldn’t trade this place for anything…because that’s all I believe in,” Izzo said. “It’s a university for students.”
The day ended with the Green and White Spring Football Game, where admitted students and two of their guests received a voucher to eat for free at Spartan Stadium.
Looking to the future: a new tradition
Across campus, MSU faculty, staff, and current students came together to offer admitted students a warm Spartan welcome.
This year’s event was just the beginning.
In a survey of attendees, 84% of respondents rated the overall event as ‘good’ or ‘excellent’. “As a student, I felt welcomed and wanted and it was amazing to see and hear Tom Izzo talk about his experience at State,” one attendee wrote. The Admissions team is also reviewing all feedback and suggestions from survey participants to make next year’s Admitted Student Day even bigger and better.
“I work in admissions because I want to help students find the right college choice,” Janssen said. “It is humbling that our work to present MSU can have a lifelong impact on their decision to attend MSU. And I am happy to work with a team that is not afraid of innovation or change. hard work to achieve such an impactful end goal.