WMU News

Students form company for Bronco Sports Experience

April 10, 2002

KALAMAZOO -- The ultimate hands-on learning experience will culminate for 32 Haworth College of Business students this weekend when they stage the 2002 Bronco Sports Experience.

The Western Michigan University students, mostly seniors majoring in advertising and promotion or marketing, were hand-picked from some 100 applicants to enroll in Event Planning, a course that consists of conceiving, planning and executing an event. In their first weeks they formed and named their company, Evention, creating letterhead and business cards, and dreaming up the Bronco Sports Experience, an introduction to WMU sports teams. Featuring food, entertainment, games and prizes, the event will take place from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, April 13, at Waldo Stadium before the Brown and Gold Spring Game, an annual intra-squad football scrimmage. The Bronco Sports Experience is free and open to the public.

The course, the brainchild of Dr. Andrew Brogowicz, chairperson of the Department of Marketing, requires students to operate as if they were working in a real advertising and promotions agency. Students are divided into teams, including advertising, public relations, strategy, and media planning and buying. There are no textbooks -- participants are armed with the cumulative knowledge from previous courses and the guidance of a faculty member. WMU has offered a similar program in the past in conjunction with the General Motors Marketing Internship, but this semester marks the first time the department has run the course independently.

"I expected them to operate as real professionals," says John Weitzel, an academic career specialist who taught the course. And he should know what to expect, having spent 25 years in the advertising and promotions business with the JW Messner agency and General Motors R*Works, an event and promotions firm. "They've done a fabulous job, and it's going to be a great event. It's crunch time, so they're working just about around the clock right now. These are dedicated students who get their jobs done and then step up and ask for more. That's the kind of student we have here."

DeNooyer Chevrolet is the presenting sponsor for the event, so students have gained experience in working with a major corporate supporter. The Bronco Sports Experience will include Chevy cars and trucks on display, along with a chance to win a two-year lease on a new vehicle by kicking a 45-yard field goal. Students negotiated and purchased insurance against the kick, a little-known component of such contests.

"This class has been a wonderful experience for me," says Marybeth Ebel, a senior who will graduate and hit the job market this month. "I've learned a lot about public relations and event coordination, as well as how to work better on a team and how to communicate among teams. Having this real-world experience on my resume is definitely a plus."

Media contact: Jessica English, 269 387-8400, jessica.english@wmich.edu

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