The past few days with Athens’ Own we spent brain storming the ways we could get Constantine’s vision out in to the community and to help get students interested in partaking in the unique internship experience that Athens’ Own offers. With breaks to try samples of maple syrup, we had a long discussion about what would be important in a job posting to get students like this to participate.
We discussed different students who we would think would be helpful in the building of a program, such as communications, management or strategic communications students who could help to write job postings, project the business vision out through means like Facebook or marketing, and students who would be interested in furthering the project and teaching their fellow students.
Something we talked about that I found particularly interesting was that if you were able to use education students to participate, you could have them create a learning plan that may help to further the learning process for other students. The key success factor for this is that students need to see that their community needs help economically, socially and environmentally, and that the students want to further their own understanding of how to fix it, along with wanting to influence their peers to do the same.
I think it is also important that Athens’ Own emphasizes the unique experience it offers. Some students may only be attracted to the glamour and money that is behind a larger corporation’s internship program. If we were able to get the word out to students that this opportunity was different, and that it focused on teaching important community skills that would help their career, we could help to inspire them to pursue the most ethical and beneficial career motives.
As I have begun writing the Internship job descriptions, I am noticing that though there is a very general way to bundle the different types of internships that Athens’ Own offers, it’s also important to recognize the differences to resilience each type of intern can make. While a Communications Intern may focus on projecting the information outward and trying to spread the ideas of resilience that Constantine works on, a management intern may try to work more on the internal aspects of Athens’ Own and how it uses resilience personally. Or if you look at me as a Marketing Intern, you can see that I am working towards resilience by trying to create a way for the program to self-market to students who should be interested in supporting the Athens community they live in. I also think that marketing can be useful for communicating not only business to customer, in the sense that interns could be seen as customers, but also business to business, if they were to begin doing joint marketing ventures with local Athens businesses.
Today, we spoke with a Jackie O’s manager about a marketing opportunity for Athens’ Own. The bar is interested in beginning to serve high-end steaks and meats. This could be a great business opportunity for a local business like Athens’ Own who sells meats, and a great opportunity for the local farms that Constantine works with. Con proposed a mutually beneficial approach that would use a form of joint marketing for Athens’ Own and Jackie O’s. I think this is an excellent idea, and that it would not take away from either of the individual business, but could substantially help them grow together.
I began throwing some ideas around in my head about what type of marketing would work for these companies, and when Con showed me the Jackie O’s Facebook page and some of the marketing they have done for Athens’ Own in the past, I thought this would be a great medium for an ad. A useful slogan could be “what could go better with a local brewed beer than a locally raised steak?” or even mentioning that both of these products can be sold and taken home if the consumer likes the product. If people enjoy the product while they are in the bar, why not pick up a six pack and another few ounces of steak to make while at home? This would benefit both businesses.
Do you remember the other day when we talked about compound interest, and related to that maximizing our efforts and impacts in all ways possible? Above you mention using marketing to get students involved in their communities, and in Athens specifically. Do you remember our conversation about creating templates that would be open for anyone to use? How would you relate all these things together? Is everything I mentioned above part of your description of community in Athens?
I think that for students, when they first think of community they think of their immediate peers on campus, when in reality they are part of another community that in this situation would be Athens. We need to get a conversation started between community members, like business owners, and students that would become mutually beneficial. This is like the use of compound interest we discussed. How if you invest in something you can both receive growth from that situation. If students are aware and become involved in the community outside of campus, I expect that we will be able to create a more resilient community.
Whether this it is as simple as letting students know about the ways they can help local businesses and their local environment, or if it become more complex like having students help to create effective resilience templates for effective business processes, this cooperation will greatly benefit the now and future of this and other communities. The beauty of students is that eventually they will move on to new places, and will bring their experiences with them. Start inspiring resilience in a town like Athens, and eventually you will have Bobcats all of the world using this methodology to better their new communities.