students at the mill

Last fall, students in the inaugural Design Center course taught in the School of Design learned firsthand how it is to work for more than one client. The course, co taught by Stephanie Verni, M.F.A., Professor of Business Communication, and Inna Alesina, M.F.A., Assistant Professor of Art, served as an integrated marketing communication agency during the fall semester, tasking students with understanding clients’ needs and concerns.

The first client of the 18 students in the course— who were business communication, graphic design, and film and moving image majors—was the School of Design itself. Their mission: to establish a new Design Center. Students researched possible names and created brand identities to showcase the in-house, student-run agency. These were pitched to faculty in the School of Design who ultimately chose the name “The Mill at Stevenson University.”

Once The Mill was established, the students focused on their second client, the Eastern Communication Association (ECA). Leeanne Bell McManus, Ph.D., Professor of Business Communication, was in charge of planning the annual convention for ECA in Pittsburgh, Pa., held April 25-29, and she worked with the students in The Mill course to promote the event. Students created collateral such as invitations, brochures, convention logos, 30-second videos, and social media messages to spread the word about Pittsburgh, ECA, and the convention.

Founded in 1910, the Eastern Communication Association is the oldest professional communication association in the United States, and Stevenson students were able to work with scholars, teachers, and other students from across the region. Students from The Mill also presented on a panel at the convention, sharing their experiences of working sharing their experiences of working with a client based on what they learned in the classroom.

Click here to view a video about their experience with helping the ECA.