Most college students spend their weekends out with their friends at a house party or a bar. I spent my past weekend in the Griffin Hall Digitorium, specifically in an Opera Suite, the size of a handicap restroom.
Why? I competed in MASHCOMM36, a 36-hour competition that challenges students to create a solution for a real client’s PR challenge. In it’s second year, eight teams of 3-6 students were paired up with clients from around the Tri-State Area.
My team, comprised of 3 other PRSSA members, spent about 25 full hours working to create a campaign for our client. I am not exaggerating when I say that we were given the toughest client. All of the professors and students would agree. What made them such a challenging client is that they had a hard time explaining what their organization was/how its run. Also, they were challenged with an inside communication problem as apposed to all of the other clients who just needed a little help with their branding. Our final product was more information/text heavy, whereas other teams were graphic heavy.
One of the most interesting challenges was somehow connecting their staff’s interest in Zombies with some sort of event. I would have never of guessed I’d be googling “Zombie Communication”! Surprisingly, I was able to create a connection between Zombie’s and how the staff was communicating towards their target audience, which turned into a training session on interpersonal and organizational communication. This session would use zombie television shows and movie clips as examples of communication in different situations.
Throughout the day and night we were happy, tired, slap happy, frustrated, enthusiastic, goofy, and professional. It was a fluxuation of emotions, but we pulled through and created a great campaign that our client was very happy with.
I may have missed out on typical college festivities, but I gained real life experience, a campaign to add to my portfolio, and 36 hours worth of memories with my team. Oh, and I was able to put the new Vine app to great use. I couldn’t think of a better way to have spent the weekend.