Many of you may be familiar with The Registry, a company that provides colleges and universities with interim leaders for positions such as President, Provost, and Dean. This service can come in very handy when Campus Police discover your Vice President for Academic Affairs selling crystal meth out of a minivan during the tailgate celebration prior to the Big Game on Homecoming Weekend.
Now, similar assistance is available for institutions battling the optics associated with serious declines in enrollment. Letter Sweater, Inc. will strategically place student impersonators (18 to 22 years old) throughout your campus, giving visitors the impression that the grounds are teeming with enthusiastic, happy undergraduates. Their presence can be vital when applicants and their families are exploring your school. No one wants to see a sparsely populated college quadrangle on a glorious spring day.
Letter Sweater’s offerings are tailored to an institution’s distinctive needs. For example:
— Level I Package: 500 young people who reflect the demographic and other characteristics (race, nationality, sex, height, weight, etc.) of your current student population
— Aspirational Sampler: 500 young people who reflect the characteristics of the student population you’d LIKE to have
— Diversity Plus: A virtual rainbow of observable physical variation that will make your campus look like the United Nations in a Mardi Gras reveler’s fever dream
— Stereotyped Technology/Hard Science Assortment: Contains 30% more Asians!
— Nothing But Denim: Jeans, jeans, jeans. Everyone’s in jeans.
— Let’s Do Lunch: All faux students are outfitted by one or more of the following: Ralph Lauren, Dockers, Calvin Klein, FUBU, Vineyard Vines, L. L. Bean, Lands’ End. (Available only in New England)
— Budget Option: Same selections as above, except that inflatables are used instead of flesh-and-blood humans. Each inflatable is anchored to the ground and can be adjusted to sway, or not sway, with the breeze. (Note: There is an extra charge for walking or running poses.)
All impersonators (excluding those in the Budget Option) possess a working knowledge of your school and its history, and are prepared to answer visitors’ questions in a positive, affirming fashion. Inflatables are equipped with a motion detector and electronic voice box, and are programmed to exclaim “I love this place!” whenever someone penetrates their Response Zone (i.e., comes within three feet).
Your student body may be disappearing faster than pizza slices at a fraternity party, but it doesn’t have to look that way. As a Letter Sweater staff member boasted to a reporter, “even alumni are fooled when they visit a campus we work with.”
Appearances can be deceiving. And as Letter Sweater demonstrates, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.