Guide to Effective Chalking at the U of M

Chalking to advertise Twin Cities Veg Fest 2013
Chalking to advertise Twin Cities Veg Fest 2013

When planned and carried out successfully, chalking at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities represents on one of the best methods of raising awareness about an event or a group’s values and mission.

Chalking can be just as effective as postering and tabling to get a message out or advertise for an upcoming event. In addition, chalking is significantly cheaper than printing costs, and can often be more visible.

  • Check weather forecasts for rain or snow that may wash away any chalking you are planning on doing.
  • Pick either a weekend or a day early in the school week to chalk, so people see the message throughout that entire week.
  • When chalking during the school week the best time of day is in the evenings past 9pm (when all classes end) because of the low traffic on campus.
  • Do not wear nice clothes. They will are bound to gather chalk dust. In addition, you will be on your knees writing and do not want to damage your nice pants on the pavement.
  • It is best to chalk in pairs. This will then enable you to split up writing the message, ensure speed, and gives you someone to talk to.
  • Before going out to chalk, divide up areas of campus to cover. This will guarantee that most parts of campus are hit, ensuring a maximum visibility. Areas to cover are the West Bank, East Bank, and St Paul.
  • Chalking just outside the perimeters of campus is a good idea because of the high concentration of foot traffic-like in Dinkytown, Stadium Village, and the residence halls (especially the “Superblock”).
  • Make sure to use colors that will show up on the given surface. Yellow and white chalk, for example, may be hard to see in daylight on some surfaces.
  • Make your message visible to pedestrians and keep it concise. It is often good to come up with a list of quotes or messages ahead of time, as it is sometimes hard to be creative on the spot.
  • Be creative! Using familiar cultural icons and phrases can be a good way to get your message out. Brainstorm on your topic and come up with catchy phrases, plays on words, and see if you can tie in an image that fits your message.
  • Only chalk on horizontal surfaces (e.g., sidewalks, mall areas) on campus. The Student Activities Office has banned chalking on vertical surfaces such as the sides of buildings.

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