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Students Assist Organizations with Marketing Plans

Written by Alexis Forde

Some students did marketing work for the Ithaca-based Firelight Camps. Photo Credit: Andy Noyes

Completing in-class exercises and reading textbooks are the traditional ways in which students learn about the field of public relations. Though these methods may be helpful, nothing compares to real world experience. That is exactly what the Roy H. Park School of Communications provides through a pair of capstone classes: Public Relations Lab and Integrated Marketing Communications Lab.

Assistant Professor Mike Mooney taught the Integrated Marketing Communications course. In the class, two student groups worked to develop a marketing plan for Firelight Camps, an Ithaca company that provides comfortable, stylish camping experiences for its guests. Each group designed a Brand Standards book for the organization which included their research, strategies, and creative plans for things like packaging designs and online store layouts. The students met frequently with owner Emma Frisch to determine how to best serve her marketing needs. “The students benefitted from receiving feedback directly from a real client,” said Mooney.

The newly revised public relations course was taught this past fall by Lecturer Ann-Marie Adams. Also referred to as Lab16, Adams’ course was run like an actual public relations agency.

“We took on the role of a consultative pro bono agency and we had senior staff, assistant account executives, and internal communications staff members,” said Sarah Fielman ’17. “Ann-Marie acted as our CEO and oversaw everything.”

The whole class worked with radio station WSKG, a PBS affiliate that reaches the New York Southern Tier Region and Northern Pennsylvania. In addition to this, each student was responsible for their own personal client, sometimes working with a partner.

Fielman was responsible for the internal communications within the Lab16 agency. In this position, she worked with designers to make logos, wrote press materials to send internally and let people know that they were taking the course in a different direction.

The Account Manager for Lab16, Natalie Morrison ’17, spoke about the experience she had working with Angry Mom Records, where her and her partner wrote proposals and set goals for the company.

“My friend Amanda and I both want to work in the music industry and we thought it would be a unique idea to do a project with a music-related company,” Morrison said. “They were intrigued and it was a unique experience that we got to have together, to see our work interpreted by our clients and then used going forward.”

Jake Ascoli ’17, the Senior Communications Manager for Lab16, talked about the work he did with his client Fusion Targets, which is a shooting range company based outside of Salt Lake City, Utah.

“What I did was try to give them the basics of what they would have to do in terms of public relations,” he said. “I came up with a media kit, press releases for some of the events they were doing, as well as promotional videos.”

Morrison spoke about the benefits that this whole experience has provided her with.

“I’m definitely going to take a lot of the stuff that I learned—making the plans, coming up with the ideas, the research side of it—and use that towards my post grad life.”

These real world opportunities provided to the students allow them to apply what they’ve already learned in the classroom to an environment that replicates the one they will be stepping into once they graduate. The fact that these are still classes allows room for mistakes that the students can grow from. At the end of it all, they walk away with the knowledge and 



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