Chalking gets Deakin Talking

Posted: October 5, 2012 by davidchis in Arts & Culture, Deakin University, Education, Melbourne, Social Issues

During it’s second trimester in 2012, Deakin University’s Burwood campus has seen a renewed enthusiasm amongst student clubs and causes for the use of chalk as an advertising medium.

The widespread appeal and relative ease of social media advertising has seen past campaigns take place almost exclusively online.  Despite this, a number of clubs appear to be going ‘back to basics’, and venturing out, chalk in hand, by the dozens.

The Christian Union group has been by far the most active agent in this, with dozens of students taking part in a promotional campaign surrounding their ‘heightened evangelistic season’ during the first four weeks of the trimester.

The response however, has been unexpectedly hostile to both the method and the message of the campaign, as a number of students have expressed their grievances on online forums, and even the club’s own Facebook page.

One student, who wished to remain anonymous, suggests that  ‘Christian union isn’t exactly promoting talks, it’s just putting it in people’s faces.  Some people don’t appreciate having religion put in their face.’

One of the Christian Union students in action.

Others have suggested the chalk is ‘rather off putting’, and ‘defacing the campus.’

Interestingly, the other groups involved in chalking (including the ‘study abroad’ initiative) have not faced such opposition to their chalking.

It is clear that the Deakin University Students Association (DUSA) permits chalking, provided that it occurs on uncovered surfaces, so that the chalk can be easily washed away by rain.

This would seem to suggest that the opposition to the chalk is based not on the chalk itself, or even the content of the advertisements, but to the Christian group and its activism on campus.

‘We’ve faced similar stuff before’, says club executive member, Matt Jacobs.  ‘People have even complained when we set up a table on campus, even if there’s a bunch of other clubs around.’

 

At this stage, the club has sought to address any complaints or grievances individually with the party involved, which has so far worked reasonably well.  But it is foreseeable that the club will face even more of this opposition, especially as it has been growing in size over the last 4 years.

‘We don’t think we’re hurting anyone’ says Jacobs,  ‘and we’re actually quite glad that people are engaging with it.  We’d love to chat with anyone who’d like to talk about it.’

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