Eastern Michigan University is currently installing four new LCD and LED displays in high-traffic locations to communicate emergency and university messages to students, visitors and faculty.
Students will also be able to advertise upcoming events relating to their student organizations, sororities and fraternities so students can view these events while walking or driving to class.
Ted Coutilish, vice president of university marketing and communications said the primary purpose of the displays is to share information, announcements, events and activities with the public.
The billboards will also be used to relay information relating to class cancellations, severe weather advisories or issues within buildings on campus that may cause classes to cancel.
He says the billboards will inform students of the problem before they park, which will save them time if classes are in fact called off.
Coutilish also discussed the locations of the displays.
“Two LCD screens have been installed near Boone Hall and on Hewitt and Huron Roads,” he said. “Two LED screens are being installed near the Bowen Field House parking lot and structure and also by the north parking lot.”
EMU has created multiple ways to communicate important messages to students Coutilish said.
“Other ways to communicate to students include a new outdoor campus speaker system, text message alerts, e-mails and the Adams Outdoor digital billboard at Exit 183 and I-94,” he said. “Eastern is serious about communicating and the safety and welfare of its students, faculty and staff.”
According to Coutilish, these new boards will not offer advertisement opportunities, but colleges, schools, offices, departments and student group are eligible to make online requests in order to promote activities, program announcements and events.
There is no cost to place a message on the boards and requests are reviewed on an individual basis.
“Using billboards on campus for events and things, to try and increase attendance might be a cool idea,” Zachary F. Camps, a recent EMU graduate, said. “They are doing a lot of work on campus here to make it look better and that is good for EMU.”
Another student on campus feels differently about these billboards.
Michael Bussert, a senior and commuter at Eastern, thinks these billboards are a waste of space and money.
“Well, it sounds to me like they are going to be an unnecessary expenditure,” Bussert said. “It may be cool to have them, but I think the $200,000 could have been spent somewhere else—increased parking, lowering tuition, the computers in Pray-Harrold are old and slow, parking is terrible, maybe spend $200,000 on additional spaces.”
Mollie Dobersek, a junior at Eastern, disagrees with these billboards being put on campus.
Dobersek is disappointed with the equipment used for teaching within her program and feels the funds could have been used elsewhere.
“Being a student who is interested in pursuing broadcast journalism, learning on such outdated technology makes me worried that I will feel less educated when I enter the field after I graduate,” Dobersek said.
Dobersek believes any extra money should be spent on education and not luxuries.
“I took audio and video production last semester and we were working with analog equipment from 1978,” she added.
Coutilish, however, is very optimistic about the new message boards on campus and believes students will appreciate them upon their installation.
Geoff Larcom, executive director of media relations at Eastern believes using the billboards to inform the campus community is necessary.
“In such a large but interconnected community; informing students, staff and supports of events and important campus developments is absolutely crucial,” he said.