Yearbook sees drop in number of senior portraits taken

Templar, Temple’s annual student yearbook, will be missing many of the graduating seniors’ faces this spring, after a large drop in the number of graduates who elected to have their senior yearbook photos taken.

Templar has only received 1,022 photos for the class of 2013, a drop off of nearly 600 from the year before, according to records provided by the publication.

The number of photo submissions had remained relatively steady the past few years, with a high of 1,696 in 2011 and a low if 1,565 in 2010, according to Templar statistics.

The number of graduates in 2013 has not yet been released, but in 2012, 5,903 seniors graduated along with 1,897 graduate students and 806 first professional degrees.

Graduation photos are taken in the fall by a private company, Prestige Portraits. The company reserves several rooms in the Student Center where students can have their pictures taken. Students must first sign up online, and the photographs are free, though students have to pay to order personal prints, Brittani Potts, editor-in-chief of Templar, said.

Potts said one of the main reasons students do not get their pictures taken is because many students simply do not know about Templar, or that they can have their pictures taken for free. Potts also said that the rise of social media sites such as Facebook have discouraged students from being involved with a traditional yearbook.

“If you want to look back on memories you go back through your Facebook albums,” Potts said. “You can look back on your life, your friend’s life, but you can’t look back at what was happening on campus that year.”

Potts also said that yearbook was a good way to remember people who you may have met, but are not engaged with on social media.

Senior broadcast journalism major Danielle Maslany said she knew about yearbook photos, but felt she didn’t have enough time to have them taken.

“So many things are going on in senior year, with internships and work…it trumped going to get my senior portrait taken,” Maslany said. “The yearbook is more of a high school thing.”

In order to spread knowledge about the senior portraits, Templar staff also printed and displayed two large poster boards in the Student Center and in Fox School of Business to advertise to students.

Students who missed the fall deadline also had the chance to have their photos taken by going to the company’s main location and having their photos sent to Templar; that date has since passed.

In addition to photos, Templar’s staff has been working to increase pick-up rates of the yearbooks. For 2013, the organization actually increased its order from last year, requesting 3,700 copies.

In order to increase awareness of the yearbook, Templar hired a social media manager to reach out to students through sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

One of the online campaigns Templar held was a contest between Temple’s Greek organizations. Whichever organization had the most members add Templar as a “friend” and link a status to their page will get a full feature in the yearbook.

In addition to online social media, Templar has sold “Hoots,” which are small blurbs similar to tweets that can be published in the yearbook.

John Moritz can be reached at john.moritz@temple.edu or on Twitter @JCMoritzTU. 

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