Hands-on experience is always best, says Lisa Bogaty, who teaches in Business Administration at Pellissippi State Community College. And in that spirit, she gives her advertising students a chance to help a real-life “client” every year.
When Pellissippi State’s Business and Computer Technology advisory committee told Bogaty about a March of Dimes’ shortfall in donations and the need for advertising, she knew her students could help. This past fall a partnership between Pellissippi State students and the area March of Dimes chapter was forged.
Stephanie Moyers, a March of Dimes community director for Knox County, says the organization definitely has benefited from the marketing plans that Bogaty’s students created, and from the supporting work of a graphic design class taught by Vida Hashemian. Hashemian is a Communication Graphics Technology faculty member in the Media Technologies program at the college.
The March of Dimes is long known for raising money to prevent premature births and birth defects, but the agency recently has faced a shortfall in contributions.
“With economic times the way they are, donations are extremely down,” Moyers said.
The Pellissippi State students took the nonprofit group under their collective wings to come up with ideas to promote two events.
The biggest fundraiser is expected to be the Signature Chef’s Auction in November. Moyers hopes the black tie affair at the Knoxville Convention Center will bring in $125,000.
“It’s actually seen as the premier dining fundraising event in Knoxville,” she said.
Twenty to 25 chefs are invited to create their signature dish and serve sample portions to a crowd of about 600. In addition, businesses are asked to contribute an item for a live auction. Moyers said the value may range from $400 to $2,500.
To help promote the event, Bogaty’s students came up with the Apple-inspired tagline “iGave, iCare, iDonated, iSupport the March of Dimes.” Moyers likes the concept and the “high-tech spin,” she says, and she hopes to integrate it into the marketing plan.
For the recent Commercial Real Estate Foundation Award Breakfast, the advertising students created the theme “Laying a Strong Foundation.” The concept was accompanied by the image of a large footprint with a tiny purple footprint inside. The design was “beautiful,” Moyers says, and was used on a postcard invitation, as well as an e-mail invitation and a program.
Bogaty says she is thrilled that her class had the chance to work with the March of Dimes.
“This was a great opportunity for our students to actually apply what they are learning to a real situation,” she said.
Students’ response to the hands-on experiences also have been very positive.
“The project was very stressful, but it helped me figure out what I want to do with my major,” said sophomore Kristen Scott, who worked on the Signature Chef’s Auction. “I’m now leaning towards advertising rather than public relations.”
Ryan Parker, a Marketing student, says working on the March of Dimes project has taught him how to effectively communicate with clients and meet team deadlines.
“Lisa Bogaty put us in a situation where we were able to do field work for our major,” said Stephanie Hacker, who plans to work in public relations. “It was very eye-opening.”
The students presented their advertising campaigns to Moyers and nine local experts representing newspaper, radio, outdoor advertising, event planning and advertising agencies.
“Having their work evaluated by industry experts adds a dimension to student learning that no amount of lecture can provide,” Bogaty said. “And local business people get a firsthand look at some of the emerging talent in advertising, marketing and communications graphics.”
Advertising courses are offered through the Marketing concentration in Pellissippi State’s Business Administration program. The Business Administration and the Media Technologies program both culminate with an Associate of Applied Science degree.
For information on the program, contact Anne Swartzlander, firstname.lastname@example.org, or Lisa Bogaty, email@example.com.