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September 12, 2019

Road Journal: WVU Fall Fest

Take Me Home Country Roads

Will Jackson | Thuzi Account Manager

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to travel to Morgantown, West Virginia to take part in the West Virginia University Welcome Week. Each year, WVU rolls out the red carpet for all returning students with their WVU Welcome Week activities. This includes a MovieFest in the WVU Coliseum, a FoodFest complete with food trucks from all over the state, and a huge FallFest concert with some of today's biggest names in country, rock, and hip hop. Needless to say, it is a huge draw for the student body. This was a particularly special trip for me since the 2018 Welcome Week was my very first day on the job with Thuzi. Returning to the small college town with its beautiful hillsides and historic downtown streets was one of the highlights of my summer travels.

Upon arrival, our goal was to get as many students registered and ready for the upcoming activities. The team and I hit the ground running with the WVU staff, and we spent the next 4 days registering over 15,000 students for Welcome Week. Students used our WVU Pass App to register using their unique student id number. Once registered, they received a QR code which could be scanned by one our staff at one of two different locations to receive their 2019 FallFest RFID wristband. This band not only got them in the door to MovieFest, FoodFest, and FallFest, but it also got them one FREE food truck meal at FoodFest. After 4 VERY busy days, thousands of students had their credentials and it was time to focus our efforts on FoodFest and the custom app we built specifically for the food truck vendors.

Nothing draws in a crowd of college students like delicious free food and good music, and that is exactly what the students of WVU got at FallFest. As they entered the gates, they were scanned by our Access Control devices to validate their RFID wristband. This device also kept a live count for how many students had entered the venue. Once inside, attendees could walk up to the food truck of their choosing, present their wristband, and have it scanned by the vendor to receive one free meal. Our custom WVU Food Truck app was preloaded on devices and given to each vendor before the night began, and each of the RFID wristbands were loaded with one token for a free meal. Once the wristband was scanned, the token was then transferred to the food truck vendor's account within the app. At the end of the event, vendors were able to get a count of all the tokens they had acquired and redeem them for payment.

When it was all said and done, students were happy, vendors were happy, and the FallFest was a huge success. The staff at WVU are always looking to be on the cutting edge of experiential marketing and event technology, and it is always such a pleasure partnering with them to bring their students a Welcome Week they will remember. I look forward to my next visit to the beautiful West Virginia University.

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