RSOs use QR codes as new marketing technique

You may not know when you see tiny black boxes and pixelated shapes around campus, but your smartphone does.

Quick Response, or QR, codes have recently become a more popular way of marketing on campus. Once scanned with a smartphone, these codes lead you directly to another website for more information.

Some registered student organizations have recently used this marketing technique to advertise their group and to generate interest among students without wasting paper.

In the Illini Union, the Illinois Student Senate advertises its organization with a QR code on a bulletin board across from the Courtyard Café.

The general thought was that it would be easier for students passing by on Quad Day to scan the QR code and continue walking, rather than picking up a flier, said David Pileski, president of the Illinois Student Senate.

“It’s always great to incorporate sustainable practices when available,” Pileski said. “With marketing your organization on Quad Day getting more competitive each year, it seemed like a natural application for us to help spread the word about our organization. Honestly, if you had the choice between using your phone to access an application immediately or typing a long URL, what would you choose?”

Along with the Illinois Student Senate advertising the code, the Illini Union Welcome Week banners inside the Illini Union display a QR code at the end of its list of events.

Even the iBook advertises these scan codes at the beginning of each month; the codes link to the Illini Union’s online schedule of events.

Jeremy White, graphic designer for the Illini Union marketing department, said it’s part of the building’s initiative to go as green as possible.

“Anything that we can do to eliminate printed material and move towards sustainable ways of reaching to students, we will do,” White said. “We wanted to basically link the digital with the print as much as possible.”

Despite the push by RSOs and other businesses, some students don’t see the hype.

Roshan Ali, sophomore in Business, said he notices the codes frequently around campus but doesn’t see the point in using them.

“I notice them because of its recognizable appearance; it reminds me of bar codes,” Ali said. “But even though I recognize them, I take notice of the information listed around the code instead. It’s a hassle to pull out your phone and look at the information when it’s right there next to it.”

Pileski said he believes QR codes will eventually become commonplace.

“They really can be used as an asset, especially in our fast-paced lifestyle when a second is valued highly,” he said. “Any time people find an opportunity to use their phone and show what it can do I think generally stimulates a positive response. “