I was expecting my son to get junk mail from UCSB, but I’m surprised at how much is addressed to the “Parents/Guardians of …”. Today we got two pieces:
- From the UCSB Alumni Association, suggesting we buy him a lifetime membership in the Alumni Association (they’ll throw in a beach cruiser bike and a class T-shirt). Now I’m aware that alumni associations are pretty aggressive about trying to get alumni to sign up, but I had not previously heard of them recruiting students who hadn’t even started yet. I guess they are worried about losing the 20% of students who don’t graduate from UCSB even after 6 years. If those students sign up for life membership in the alumni association while they are still students, they can be marketed to forever, even if they never become alumni in the traditional sense.
Giving a bicycle as a premium for joining the Alumni Association is not a bad idea, but it is a single-speed beach cruiser, probably of the cheapest possible variety, without racks or lights. If it had been a 3-speed with brakes on both wheels and a rear rack for panniers, it might have been worth joining the Alumni Association for the bike.
- From the Residence Halls Association, suggesting that we buy him a “Welcome to UCSB Care Package” consisting of a sports bag, an aluminum sport bottle, a frisbee, a mini football, pens, and “tons of great snacks”—all with the RHA logo on them (except, perhaps, the snacks). None of those items are ones my son is likely to need more of. They also sell a couple of care packages for finals, including one with a stainless steel tumbler, a roll-up picnic blanket, sunglasses, coffee/tea packets, snacks, and a “travel stick and flag notebook”. Their birthday package includes a water bottle, a teddy bear, and balloons “as well as many delicious snacks”. This is apparently not the first year they’ve done this, so they must have gotten a lot of
suckerscustomers in past years.
Now, I think that sending care packages from home with favorite snacks is a great idea, and we may even do it a few times, but the selection of stuff in the RHA care packages seems not at all suited to our son, and sticking the RHA logo on everything is practically a guarantee that the resulting objects have no “coolness” factor at college. Probably they put a water bottle in every care package because students go out of their way to lose the RHA bottles.