Sometimes things take time

WaCLA

Reflections on an academic service appointment that went on three years longer than planned….

The WaCLA #IFeelInspired PR Campaign 2015-2020


$10,000 Awarrd

3 faculty mentors

12 digital tools used

13 student contributors

5 years to implement


In January 2020 the Washington Consortium for the Liberal Arts (WaCLA) officially launched the #ifeelinspired campaign – a statewide outreach effort designed to encourage a re-envisioning of liberal arts through the discovery of one’s own creativity. Led by three WSU faculty members and a rotating team of 13 WSU students representing four liberal arts disciplines, the team utilized $10,000 from the WaCLA PR Campaign Award to conceptualize, design, and implement #ifeelinspired – an integrated digital marketing campaign that includes a website, repeatable and sustainable social media engagement strategy, public relations, grassroots outreach, and original photography and video featuring volunteers from Pullman High School liberal arts students and teachers. The campaign will run for two years on WaCLA social media channels with the goal of building awareness of the value of liberal arts education, creating renewed interest in sharing the outcomes of creativity, and celebrating moments of student expression.

Featured article in WSU News by Kerry Colby (Feb 2020)

We started this journey in 2015. It took five years to get off the ground. Needless to say, much was learned.

WaCLA #IFeelInspired video created by Zach Malmberg and Gary Narwal

Background:

In early 2016 fellow Murrow College faculty member Ryan Risenmay and I served as co-faculty advisors for the Washington Consortium for the Liberal Arts (WaCLA) PR Campaign Award. We led an initial multi-disciplinary team of six students in their proposal for the #ifeelinspired campaign – a public service campaign aimed at fostering a greater understanding of the value of the liberal arts. We were awarded $10,000 for campaign implementation. The initial team established a brand platform, core messaging, campaign goals and strategy. In 2017, new students joined the team while others graduated. A website was created, new content was drafted for social media and public relations outreach, and original photography and video was captured with the help of volunteers from Pullman High School. WaCLA went through a leadership transition and the project was put on hold for several months. The campaign was rekindled in 2018 with me as the lead along with two Murrow students tasked with final campaign implementation. The campaign was again put on hold due to another round of leadership and budget management transitions. Finally, in January 2020 the campaign was ready to launch. At my lead, the campaign is now running with an updated website and a full-year of scheduled social media posts on WaCLA Facebook and Twitter channels. Campaign management has been transitioned to WaCLA leadership at Gonzaga. We stayed under-budget and created a sustainable, repeatable campaign that will remain relevant for at least two years.

Client

  • Matthew Bahr, Ph.D. – Associate Dean, College of Arts & Sciences, Gonzaga University
  • WaCLA: Washington Consortium for Liberal Arts Education

Campaign-related URLs:

Campaign Digital Tools:

  • Wix: website
  • Google Analytics: website metrics
  • Dropbox: document storage and sharing
  • Hootsuite: social media scheduling and metrics
  • Facebook: social media engagement
  • Twitter: social media engagement
  • Canva: digital content creation
  • Adobe Spark: digital content creation
  • Adobe Stock: purchased stock images
  • Adobe Premier: video editing
  • Adobe Lightroom: photo editing
  • Drone, video camera: video capture

Total Budget: $10,000

Faculty Mentors:

  • Rebecca Cooney, Murrow Clinical Associate Professor: 2016-2020
  • Ryan Risenmay, Murrow Clinical Assistant Professor: 2016-2018
  • Ana Maria Rodriguez-Vivaldi, Associate Dean of Student Affairs and Global Education, College of Arts & Sciences: 2016-2018

Student Contributors:

  • Kevin Schilling, Team Leader (History)
  • Adrienne Fountain (Music)
  • Alonso López-Mesa (DTC)
  • Jorge Barbosa (DTC)
  • Zach Malmberg (Comm)
  • Max Thon (Comm)
  • Gary Narwal (Comm)
  • Andrew Tabit (Comm)
  • Sophia Steele (Comm)
  • Jordan Buckles (Comm)
  • Danielle Fox  (Comm)
  • Alyssa Gonzalez (Comm)

Reflections and lessons learned

  1. Getting an award for a campaign strategy is the easy part. Implementing said campaign strategy is a much larger undertaking.
  2. Any project requiring campaign implementation should be a class with set meeting times, credits and grades attached.
  3. Student teams need team charters.
  4. Students on teams involved in real-time campaign implementation should have job descriptions, clear expectations and milestones, and be asked to sign a performance contract.
  5. Be prepared for set-backs, administrative changes, student drop-outs, and unfinished work

But of course there is the good stuff! It was a rewarding experience. I especially enjoyed going to Pullman High School with two of the students to capture photos and video for use throughout the campaign. It was really fun to work with the high school students and teachers and be part of their daily chaos. I love working with students and seeing them blossom and grow during the experiential learning process. So yes, it was worth it 🙂

Thank you!

  • Andrew Mielke: Choir & Band
  • Doug Winchell: Photography and video
  • Robert McPherson: Art & Yearbook
  • Vincent Hanley: Drafting, Metals & Woods
  • Katharine Covill: Orchestra
  • All of the wonderful Pullman High School students who volunteered and participated!

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