New data shows real value of on-campus student engagement
Planning and attending student events on a college campus may sound like it’s all fun and games. But new data from Georgia Southern University shows there are real benefits for the students and for the university when students engage in on-campus activities.
A recent analysis by Georgia Southern’s Institutional Research office of first-year students who attended at least one event during the 2021-22 school year showed that students who attended at least one event returned this year at a rate of 79.4%. That figure is more than seven percentage points higher than the University’s overall freshman retention rate of 72%.
“National data has consistently shown that the more engaged a student is with the university, the greater their chance of succeeding in college. It’s very satisfying to now have data to show the value of student programming and events at Georgia Southern,” said Shay Little, Ph.D., the University’s vice president for student affairs.
Student affairs has been collecting student participation data since the university launched “the Eagle Experience” in fall 2020. The following year, the program, a collaborative cross-university effort to ensure new students’ successful transition to the Georgia Southern college experience, won a 2021-22 National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) Excellence Bronze Award.
Now, data show that students are re-engaging after two COVID-influenced years that impacted many of Georgia Southern’s operations and activities.
Total attendees measured at Georgia Southern events on all three campuses rose from 55,124 in fall of 2021 to 79,408 in fall of 2022. That’s a 44% increase in students who checked in during at least one of more than 1,000 events.
Fall 2022, the numbers show:
- 1,162 total events
- 79,408 total attendees
- 370 Armstrong Campus events that attracted 13,116 attendees
- 662 Statesboro Campus Tagged Events that attracted 62,335 attendees
- 82 different departments or registered student organizations hosted events
“It’s clear that we are reaching our Eagle Experience goals of engaging and retaining our students,” Little said. “We intend to foster a transformative student experience where students have fun, find a place to belong, and have opportunities to learn while enhancing their academic experience. These results are very encouraging.”