From visitor to partner

Associate Vice Chancellor of Marketing

Small steps outside our usual way of doing things can prove meaningful for us, and others.

One, small step occurred last November when Wes Lukoshus suggested that he and I pay a visit to the Purdue University Marketing Association (PUMA). Professor Kasia Firlej welcomed the idea and set our appointment for 6 p.m. on a Thursday evening.

I expected 10-12 students. My thoughts were that these students surely would be busy, tired or both, and why would they want to remain on campus after class to interact with two marketing administrators?

I was wrong.  Almost 50 students were waiting for us.

What started as an introduction followed by a discussion about university marketing plans, evolved into a conversation about possibilities. The marketing students were focused and eager for solutions to bring more relevance and experiences to their marketing class.

A partnership with a spring marketing class, under the guidance of Instructor Jordan Kerr, emerged from our November evening visit. The class was divided into two competitive teams of about 10 students each. Each team had two leaders. Those leaders would interact with Wes and me every two weeks during the Spring semester.

Their assignment was to create an Integrated Marketing Communication Plan based on a survey, “Expectation vs. Experience”, which was given to current students. After analyzing this data, they were to offer insights that would impact student experiences.

Chris Charizopoulos
Chris Charizopoulos

In April, the team leaders presented results and ideas to their professor and others at the university, with University Relations as their client. Two leaders from the winning team would have the opportunity to intern in marketing roles with University Relations in the fall of 2012.

The efforts of both teams, named by their participants as, “Footprint” and “MarketU”, respectively, were exceptional. The winning team was Footprint, headed by team leaders Christopher Charizopoulos and Julie Yarsinsky.

Julie Yarsinsky
Julie Yarsinsky
Amos Voyles
Amos Voyles

However the “MarketU” team also was impressive. Team leader Amos Voyles is interning this summer in the University Relations office. He has assisted with our office’s “Working Smarter to Become Job Marketable” community outreach program, also co-sponsored by The Times and Post-Tribune newspapers. Additionally, Voyles is developing some of his MarketU ideas to make Purdue Calumet a destination.

More positives are coming

Not only has Purdue Calumet gained three great minds to assist in marketing endeavors, but this process will perpetuate in the fall. The three student leaders will act as liaisons with the fall marketing class, garnering more student experiences in Spring 2013.

It’s a win-win situation.

The continual process will allow several more students to be involved in the day-to-day efforts of marketing Purdue Calumet. The students will develop skills needed to be more competitive in the next stages of their academic and professional careers.  Plus, the university gets new ideas and approaches from the participants, as well as their passion for marketing, added to the mix.

If the proven success of this pilot idea is any indication, that small step outside the same way of doing things will be as meaningful for those students as it has been for Wes and me.