Mr. Portnoy, the Professor?

This past fall I was invited to the campus of Pepperdine University to talk with students in the PR/Marketing major and those involved in the local PRSSA chapter abut what life after college looks like. After several visits I was struck with a notion.

What if I walked with a class through some real world experiences while still enrolled in school?

Not exactly an internship, something with more of a safety net. A bit of a group think with direct input from a professor as well as a real world coach. The more college students I talk with or have worked with experience a wake up call when they hit the workplace. That seemed like an issue, so I did some thinking and found that there were some resources at my fingertips.

So I pitched an idea to my contact at Pepperdine (Dr. Emily Kinsky) and it looked like this:

The Project

Engage 10,000 college students to move from awareness to volunteers to advocates. Using all forms of PR (new and traditional media tools) to aid in the current campaigns created by URM and it’s partners – The class would work to catalyze the masses to being the solution to homelessness in Los Angeles.

Portnoy Media Group and Union Rescue Mission would work with the team to navigate the waters of Los Angeles non-profit PR and would formulate a feasible, real world plan with the chapter and then put it into action.

How Pepperdine wins:
Hands on creativity and implementation on a real world scenario. It’s a great resume piece for the students and provides instant feedback on success or failure. The students gain access to a client that is involved in every form of media production (print, film, broadcast, radio, web). URM and PMG could also give feedback on the process and the presentation from each team.

How URM wins:
Additional creative minds thinking about the plight of homelessness in Los Angeles. The result would be a microcosm of how URM engages college students and would then have solutions for maximum involvement.

How Portnoy Media Group Wins:
Additional minds creating content/ideas to aid with a current client.
I’d be looking for new ideas to accessibility and with all that brain power helping PMG aid URM in their endeavors of fundraising, awareness, volunteerism and advocacy.
An easy way to work along side and interact with students to identify good intern candidates.

The Final
The final presentations were several weeks ago and URM’s Director of Marketing and Communications, Jacqui Groseth, was on site for the final. All three pitches showed some similarities on how best to reach the students on their campus. Each team had identified a low cost/no cost option that would have maximum effectiveness for talking to college students throughout the Los Angeles area. I couldn’t have been happier with the way the project turned out and look forward to similar collaborations in the future. Big thanks to Dr. Kinsky for her risk taking!

Are you a school looking for a guest lecture? Contact Dan here

Click to check out Union Rescue Mission

Click to check out Pepperdine’s School of Communication