How to do Outreach Right

April 7, 2010

I’ve been working with the Classics Department at UGA, doing outreach from the libraries, for about a year now.  I feel it’s gone fairly well, and I think in a large part this is due to the department’s own interest in community-building activity, which has made them so welcoming to me.  I’ve done my best, but I’ve been lucky too!

The weekend is UGA Classics’ Athenaze event, an annual departmental open house in its 7th year as of 2010.  I’m going to try and attend at least some part of it, although domestic pressures will probably keep me from spending the entire day.

The event is free and open to the public, and has something for almost anyone with an interest in Classics – a book sale, discussion for teachers of latin at the secondary level, meeting with high school students interested in UGA and Classics at the college level, panel discussion with departmental alumni/ae in academia, and a keynote speech on an accessible topic, mythology and art.  (Plus pastries AND lunch!)

The lesson I take away from UGA Classics’ success with this event is: make the effort to reach out and welcome people, know your target audience and be aware of their needs and interests, and they will respond.  In pursuit of knowing my audience, today I’m noting down the summer and  fall 2010 class schedule in Classics while at my weekly office hour in the department.

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