To have a more complete understanding of the attendees at the event, we must address the groups of attendees separately. For the purpose of this proposal they will be broken up into the category of students and parents.
While in college, a student’s attitude toward learning, life, and the college community will change. As the statistics state, most college students at George Washington University are from out of state and live in college owned-housing. The students are a mix of nationalities, age, and interest. It is important that these differences are identified so that we are able to provide entertainment that works with their attitudes. This generation, Generation Y, can be described by the following characteristics:
- Value diversity, equality, and tolerance in both professional and personal areas of life
- Enjoy music, movies, television, friends, and dining out
- Have money to spend but are fickle consumers
- Fashion, trend, and brand conscious, but change brand loyalties quickly
- Individualistic and demands autonomy in their opinions and behavior
- Emphasize personal activities above social and labor considerations
The Job Characteristics Model has been used to understand the process of engagement as it relates to the workplace (Steele 2009). According to this model there are five characteristics that influence workers’ attitudes and behaviors: skill variety, task identity, task significance, autonomy, and feedback (Steele, 2009). This model can be adjusted and used as a framework for understanding student participation in a school event. There needs to be a variety of activities so that each student is involved and motivated (Steele 2009). Each student needs to feel that the event has significance. Those that are just starting their college career tend to want to experience new things, they are testing their boundaries. Students entering college tend to have developmental issues in regards to establishing identity and achieving competence regardless of academic talent (Noldon, 1998). A major focus for students becomes defining who they are as individuals, however, despite this, they tend to look to their parents when making big decisions.
Parents with children in college, tend to have high expectations for the weekend visit. They not only want to see where their child lives and attends classes but parents also want to be reassured that they made the right choice by sending the student there. Their values of loyalty, discipline, and respect have lead to high expectations for their children.
In order to keep the parents involved in the college life of their children the college needs to welcome the parents and make them feel valued. This value is vital to an affective family involvement in the university (Tonn, 2005). The college parent is influenced by three variables in motivation for involvement: the school, the teachers, and their own children. The perception of how effective these variables will be is based on personal beliefs and how they are asked to be involved (Tonn, 2005). Parents often feel overwhelmed when arriving on college campuses. Small touches done by the school really make a parent feel welcome. The article, 'Keeping in Touch’ from the journal Education Week, states that schools often don’t realize how unfriendly they may look to parents. It is often small things, like posting online driving directions, which can makes a difference to a parent. There is also a misconception that once a student reaches college, parents are no longer involved with the students’ scholastic career. However, it is not that parents aren’t concerned anymore; it is simply that their job has changed from manager to coach.