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September 01, 2020

By Zach Ferenchak, Class of 2021

Immersion Class Reflection: A Rewarding Experience

Working with Fahlgren Mortine and Community Shelter Board was a really unique experience for me. As a second-year student at the time, I was very excited to be able to work on a real campaign as opposed to practice scenarios and case studies.

The first half of the class featured a series of guest lectures from members of the Fahlgren team. Skills such as account management, social media, media relations, video production, and more were taught to us by Fahlgren employees who specialize in these areas. It was a very insightful process that I think helped a lot of us students better understand the specializations that exist within the communications industry. I remember telling Dr. Lois (Foreman-Wernet) at one point that I wouldn’t mind having more guest speakers come in for lectures in other public relations classes as these individuals gave a very unique insight into how the industry works.

The second half of the class allowed us to develop and implement an integrated marketing communications campaign for our client. Working with Community Shelter Board was a rewarding experience for me in a number of ways. First, I developed a new set of skills. The class was separated into three groups and I was a member of the video group. Coming into the class, I didn’t have much video editing experience. Through this process I was able to quickly pick up some skills in video production and generate new ideas based off of my fellow team members.

Our video production team worked closely with members of the Youth Action Board to come up with the best way to tell their unique stories. These inspiring individuals were people our age who had previously faced homelessness, and I believe that our video captured their story perfectly. The final video ended up being a key component of our campaign and I remember getting goosebumps the first time I watched it.

Being able to produce work for this nonprofit in particular was very rewarding and personal for me. Growing up on the West Side of Columbus, I have seen and known people facing homelessness. Working with Community Shelter Board allowed me to see these people in a new light. People facing homelessness are just like the rest of us and many of them face homelessness due to factors that are out of their control. Working with members of the Youth Action Board allowed me to better understand that people facing homelessness deserve our respect and care, just as people facing any other affliction do.

Winning an award from the Public Relations Society of America means a lot to me as well. Being able to say I have won an award in my industry before graduating from college is a huge achievement! As student who is heavily involved in PRSA/PRSSA and is a current PRSSA National Committee member, it is so great to receive this award from an organization that means so much to me.

I am greatly appreciative of Capital University for putting together this program, our partners at Fahlgren Mortine and Community Shelter Board for working with us through the process, and all of my classmates who worked really hard to make this a successful campaign!