Promoting Engagement and Social Connections: A New School Case Study

Carly Syms - Team Lead for Marketing & VIP Customer Service

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Have you ever been to an event where you didn’t know anyone?

Being in a large crowd of strangers can be intimidating for many people. People who are uncomfortable in these situations tend to stick to themselves rather than reaching out and meeting fellow attendees. It can be overwhelming, intense, and nerve-wracking.

And that’s exactly what the New School didn’t want their guests to feel like at a recent Continuing Education Expo.

The New School is one of the top universities in New York City. It’s a comprehensive university and the only one to feature a world-renowned design school (Parsons School of Design), a famous liberal arts college, a legendary performing arts school, and a topic historic social research school.

In other words, the New School has a ton of things going for it, and it’s a highly sought-after place to pursue an education.

The New School is housed in a beautiful building that features lots of different art and installations. All of these incredible pieces are scattered around the offices, library, classrooms, and common areas, which makes it more difficult for guests to really engage with the work. Every year, the school hosts a Continuing Education Expo, which is an open house for incoming and prospective continuing education students. The expo is a really big deal, and this year, school officials wanted to shake things up a bit.

So they called Museum Hack.

Encouraging Engagement In A Crowd Of Strangers

The New School had two goals for this year’s highly anticipated open house. First, they wanted to create more engagement with the art in the building. It was important to organizers that attendees explored the school and made more of a connection with the impressive collection housed throughout its halls.

Second, the New School wanted to promote a more interactive social atmosphere at the event. Rather than having dozens of people clustered around the snack tables, sticking to themselves or the small groups they may have arrived with, the New School wanted to encourage more engagement among participants. Essentially, event organizers were hoping that we could help forge bonds between attendees that would lead to greater feelings of inclusion. They wanted students to feel welcome and like they belonged at the school right off the bat.

We were ready to tackle both challenges.

Museum Hack tour guides at the Continuing Education Expo.
Museum Hack tour guides at the Continuing Education Expo.

We scoured the building for the best stories about the art and developed small tours that highlighted the most intriguing pieces. In order to foster an intimate atmosphere ripe for making meaningful connections, we led several small pull-away tours. By taking small groups on mini excursions through the building together, we helped draw individual students into the social fabric for the evening.

Of course, it wouldn’t have been a Museum Hack event without an awesome photo challenge that encouraged guests to dive deeper with the New School’s art and get to know other participants at the same time.

“It was awesome!”

The results were immediate. Instead of attendees gathering only in the common areas without talking to each other, students explored the entirety of the space. Guests actively engaged with the whole building as they learned more about the art and forged new friendships and connections.

The New School loved what we brought to the expo and guests had a fantastic time at the event.

“Having Museum Hack here was great. I’ve heard from our guests that they had a great time and actually learned a lot in a really short amount of time, and that’s all we can hope for. It was awesome.” – Morgan, Marketing Operations Manager at the New School

Check out Morgan’s full testimonial here:

Do you have an upcoming event you’d like our help with? Find out more about what we can do to make it awesome – give us a call at 1-800-210-9676 or send us an email at [email protected]

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