Huntsman Post

Promotional Event Organized By Students Has Hogwarts Flavor

By Connor Child

It can be tough to predict what students will come up with when they are given responsibility for promoting school events. Case in point: the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business was transformed into the Hogwarts School of Business for Halloween and to promote an informational event about study-abroad opportunities.

“That type of creativity could have only come about with the input of college students,” said Eric Schulz, co-director of strategic marketing and brand management for the Huntsman School. Mr. Schulz is also the director of “The Agency,” the student-led internal public relations and marketing group that hatched the Harry Potter-themed idea.

From Oct. 27 to Nov. 1, the windows and walls in the student lounge of the George S. Eccles Business Building at USU were covered with black paper and the room was lit with realistic-looking electronic candles. It was decorated with banners, broomsticks, and an over-sized chessboard based on J.K. Rowling’s popular wizard book and film series. The Agency also came up with numerous Hogwarts-themed activities and events, such as the “Golden Snitch Hunt” and the “Tri-Wizard Tournament.”

Although the tournament, which pitted three lucky “wizards” in a competition to test their knowledge of Harry Potter trivia, featured no flying brooms or fire-breathing dragons, it did offer students an unusual opportunity to come and visit with a special guest who brought with him some unique props used in the Harry Potter films.

USU student Ben Ballam, an avid fan of Daniel Radcliffe and everything Harry Potter, visited the tournament, bringing with him the cloak worn by Radcliffe in six of the eight Harry Potter films, a tie worn by Mr. Radcliffe and a replica of Harry Potter’s wand, all of which he received when he had the opportunity to meet Mr. Radcliffe.

Ben Ballam, a USU student, tells the story of how he met Daniel Radcliffe in person.

“A couple years ago, I went to New York for a surgery I needed and before the surgery my father took me to see a few Broadway plays,” Ben said.

Mr. Ballam said his father, Michael, decided to surprise him and made arrangements for him to meet the famous Harry Potter actor. Ben said he was surprised when Mr. Radcliffe arrived.

“When he walked in the room I went completely speechless,” Ben said.

Ben stayed for the game, serving as a judge, and as a “lifeline” for those stumped during the game.

The events culminated with the “Go Global” information session, which provided information about this summer's travel abroad programs as well as the SEED small-business investment programs in Africa and South America. Brad Singer, an account manager for The Agency, said the group wanted to come up with something completely different from what had been done in the past.

“We are constantly reminded by our professors to think outside the box,” Mr. Singer said. “We could have used a more traditional method to promote the information session, but we thought the Hogwarts idea would do a much better job of capturing their attention.”

Sterling Morris, who oversees the social media efforts of the Huntsman School, said the Hogwarts idea generated a great deal of positive buzz on the Huntsman School’s Facebook and Twitter pages. On the first day of the Hogwarts School of Business, the Huntsman School was mentioned 83 times on Twitter, received 25 Facebook “likes,” and generated 13 Facebook comments.

“I have a permanent smile on my face. Coolest birthday ever!” tweeted Huntsman student Michael Hendricks (@likemikeyd).

To see what the Hogwarts School of Business looked like, click here.