In past years, Harvard students looking to make quick money looked to coupons and research studies in need of subjects. But this year, students have another option for easy cash flow: school spirit.
Students who attend select Harvard sporting events can earn one dollar of Crimson Cash per game through the newly established Student Rewards Program. Participants can only earn a maximum yearly salary of approximately $30, but the marketing strategy represents a new initiative to draw students to games by paying them.
The program combines the marketing efforts of the Athletics Department and the Undergraduate Council to raise student attendance.
It will continue Friday night at the football team’s first night game of the season, which is consistently one of the best attended Harvard sporting events of the year. The Athletics Department is expecting slightly fewer than 3,000 students to attend the game, but the marketing office expects the night to be a major publicity push for the newly-conceived program.
Friday’s football game is the second sporting event of the year to be sponsored. The program launched at the men’s soccer game against Northeastern on Sept. 4 as part of the second annual “Fall Fiesta.”
Despite the initiative to increase student attendance, overall attendance decreased from 3,221 at last year’s Fall Fiesta to a total of 2,504 this year. Approximately 600 students swiped in this year.
Numbers likely fell because this year’s Sunday night time slot was less appealing to community fans than last year’s Saturday night time slot, Marketing Manager Taylor Shea said.
But she said she hopes the marketing campaign at some of the more popular events will create more attention for the rewards program and upcoming games.
“For an event that’s a really big deal, that’s a great opportunity to market the program or these other games that aren’t as popular,” said former marketing intern Emma M. Golen ’13, who initiated the program with Shea as part of her summer internship with the Athletics Department.
The Athletics Department chose to sponsor nine games this fall, and Shea hopes to sponsor a total of 30 games throughout the year.
These designated games will replace the traditional UC Game of the Week that the UC would advertise to the student body.
Instead, both the UC’s Student Relations Committee and the Athletics Department will focus on promoting and publicizing the same games.
“We thought this was the best way to increase school spirit and get students to games,” chair of the Student Relations Committee Daniel P. Bicknell ’13 said.
The marketing division of the Athletics Department will have “swipe tents” installed outside the stadium, likely next to the student section, where students can swipe their ID’s until the second half of the game.
“We’re encouraging everybody to get there early to swipe in and support [the football team],” Shea said.
The Crimson Cash giveaway is only one portion of the broader Student Rewards program. With every swipe, students will be automatically entered into a lottery for a larger grand prize to be rewarded at the end of each season.
“It’s great to have these raffles, but with these Crimson Cash pieces, everyone really gets a piece of the action,” Shea said.
She said she expects turnout to rise with as the program matures.
“Now, we’ve spent two or three weeks marketing it. Coming into our second game, I think it will catch fire.”
—Staff writer Patrick Galvin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.