Effective July 1, 2021, University of Utah Student Media will be under the umbrella of the university’s Auxiliary Business Development department.
Student Media partnering with Auxiliary Business Development has been in talks for several years. According to Student Media Director Jake Sorensen, “They were selling advertising assets and sponsorships around campus and so were we, so we started coming together to see how we could make that experience better for businesses and organizations trying to reach the campus audience.” The solution ultimately became to bring the business and advertising operations of Student Media completely into the Auxiliary Services group to share resources and help generate revenue. Meanwhile, the editorial operations of Student Media will continue to function with the historical editorial independence the department currently does through the Student Media Council.
Auxiliary Services as a whole is a collection of departments campus-wide whose mission is to provide services to campus including the Campus Store, Rice-Eccles Stadium, the Huntsman Center and others. The business development team is tasked with marketing, licensing and managing private partnerships across the campus ecosystem. Director Brett Eden believes the move to include Student Media in their department has vast upside for everyone involved.
“This gives us an opportunity to centralize how we provide advertising opportunities for both private partners and other auxiliary services. In times past, it felt a little like we were competing with ourselves, and it made it difficult for our sponsors and partners to have to go to several outlets to ensure they had a broad reach across campus.”
For the students involved in the editorial operations of Student Media, the day-to-day operations will remain unchanged to a large extent. Sorensen believes that over time this partnership will better support the students involved across the various organizations and provide potential for more resources moving forward.
“Our concern has always been protecting the Student Media as an experiential learning program for our students… This partnership with Auxiliary Business Development allows us to increase our revenue stream through a concentrated sales effort and access to the other Auxiliary Services that we did not have before.
“The administration at the University of Utah wants to see student programs succeed. This is a way to protect students’ editorial independence, experiential learning opportunities and ensure the long-term viability of Student Media on campus.”
Eden echoed Sorensen’s sentiments and said that while there are still minor details to be worked out, the announcement of their partnership has already yielded positive results in the world of private partnerships and will only continue to benefit students and the university as a whole.