CUSA promotes businesses with contest

The Carleton University Students’ Association (CUSA) is giving $2,000 towards one lucky student’s tuition for the 2018-19 academic year.

The catch? To be considered, students have to take a picture of themselves or their friends at a CUSA business and post it to Instagram using #tuitionbycusa.

CUSA runs four major businesses: Oliver’s Pub & Patio, Rooster’s Coffeehouse, Henry’s Convenience Store, and Haven Books. According to Travis Lindgren, CUSA’s general manager, the contest aims to draw students to these businesses.

“There’s a lot of large, multi-million-dollar brands on campus . . . and it’s competitive,” Lindgren said. “[CUSA is] a non-profit though, right? So these businesses are vital to everything. They are a big revenue source, and are very important to the organization altogether.”

According to him, CUSA businesses’ revenue has been declining in recent years, so the organization is trying to come up with innovative ways to get people through the doors. CUSA has redesigned the menus for both Oliver’s and Rooster’s, including adding more halal and gluten-free options. It has also been encouraging clubs and societies to host more events at CUSA businesses, in addition to hosting their own events.

CUSA president Zameer Masjedee said that the money for the contest is coming directly from CUSA’s promotion budget. Each business is accorded a certain amount of money for advertising, he said, so this contest is taking $500 out of each business’s regular promotion budget.

“Instead of giving that [money] to Facebook to advertise, we give that to the students to sort of advertise on our behalf,” Masjedee said.

The idea, according to Lindgren, is that students will come into CUSA businesses to take the photo, and that their friends will come in after seeing their post on social media. Masjedee said students can enter as many times as they like, and a winner will be chosen based on how creative a post is, and how much attention it receives.

Mortuza Awal, a third-year political science student at Carleton, said that the $2,000 would help draw him to Oliver’s.

“Now I will definitely grab a beer and take a picture,” Awal said.

Awal said that his tuition costs about $14,000 after school-related expenses. He said the $2,000 would let him to spend more of the money he earns on beverages and food.

According to Lindgren, the contest was advertised via posters and a paid full-page ad in The Charlatan. But, Awal argued that CUSA did a poor job promoting the contest.

“I never read The Charlatan. I’m too busy to pick up a paper and read the thing,” Awal said, adding that he hasn’t noticed the posters.

Lindgren said he has not started tracking entries as it is too early to gauge the success of the contest. However, he said they are hoping for a 10 per cent bump in overall revenue, and a couple hundred contest entries. The contest will run until March 30, 2018.

Photo by Meagan Casalino