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BHSU marketing students use classroom learning to impact local community

 
 BHSU students, left to right, Kyler Huber, Jonathan Horner, and Jordan Dolph present their marketing ideas to representatives from the Sanford Underground Lab.

Black Hills State University students in Dr. Wei Song’s integrated marketing communication class this semester had the opportunity to blend theory and their coursework into a practical learning experience. However, their projects also had a larger purpose – to make a contribution to the surrounding community.

Song strives to combine experiential learning opportunities for her students while at the same time creating community partnerships. The students recently presented marketing plans to three local organizations: the Sanford Underground Research Facility and the Handley Recreation Center, both in Lead, and the local ROTC.

“Community-based participatory research (CBPR) conducted by the students can benefit both students and the community. With faculty participation, each student serves as a consultant rather than a learner,” according to Song. “They are responsible to define the problems and deliver the final findings as well as recommendations to the local business and organization. The CPBR conducted by the students go beyond the learning experience and make an impact on the community.”

Jordan Dolph, mass communication major from Parker, Colo., was the group leader for one of two groups who created a marketing plan for the Sanford Lab. The group focused on the Lab’s higher education sector. Dolph said the group suggested the Lab increase its involvement with science events in the community and at the high school and college level. “A lot of people know that the lab is there but don’t understand the science going on,” he said noting the Lab could also create a video outlining the research going on underground.

During the semester, the students met with representatives from each of the organizations to get a better understanding of the goals and what they would like incorporated into the marketing plan.

“This was a terrific experience for those of us at the Lab who worked with the students,” according to Constance Walter, communications director. “They were excited and eager to work on this project; it’s fantastic to see that excitement in young people.”

Walter said they are considering different ideas presented by the students that will fit into their overall marketing and communication plans. She added that the project also provided a great opportunity to partner with BHSU.

“Sanford Lab has a strong commitment to education, so we were very excited to be able to work with Dr. Song and the students as a way to help them gain valuable real-world experience.”   

BHSU students who presented projects to the three organizations included:

Sanford Lab – higher education sector:  Dolph, Kyler Huber, business administration - management major from Rapid City; and Jonathon Horner, business administration – marketing major from Aberdeen.

Sanford Lab – community involvement: group leader Ericka Heltzel-Leveque, business administration – tourism major from Rapid City; April Rypkema, business administration – marketing major from Rapid City; Darick Eisenbraun, business administration – marketing major from Wall; and Patrick Guth, business administration – entrepreneurship major from Torrington, Wyo.

Handley Recreation Center: Colton Nickelson, mass communication major from Philip; and Andy (Gerald) Black, general studies major from Spearfish.

ROTC: Joshua Rundell, mass communication major from Rapid City; Kayla Koerlin, business administration marketing major from Rapid City; and Samantha Gray, corporate communication major from Faith.

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