Marist's North Road Communications Does It All
Real-World Experience for Students, Professional Results for Organizations
Marist’s Communications program offers students a wide variety of activities to get hands-on experience outside of the classroom. One of the notable extracurricular opportunities for students is North Road Communications, Marist’s student-run integrated communications firm.
The firm works with a wide variety of clients, offering services such as marketing consultancy, social media management, and press plans. The firm’s website says it has a three-fold mission – doing, helping, and learning. Its goal is to be a “proactive” agency, simultaneously helping local organizations and giving students a unique learning experience.
Senior Gabriella Gamba, Publicity Director of North Road, said, “It’s really rewarding to see your efforts and all of your hard work pay off, and to see that what you did actually had positive effects on your client. Without you, they couldn’t have achieved what they did. It’s a great feeling to know that you helped. That’s what makes North Road worthwhile for me. Also, it just so happens to be a great resume builder.”
There are many opportunities for students to move up in the firm after they’ve proven themselves an effective general member by providing exemplary work and going above and beyond in their assignments. Aside from the advertising, creative, and publicity teams (which all have individual directors), there are six Account Executives for each client who manage a team of four to five account representatives for the client. There are also two student co-directors for the entire firm. All of these positions offer a wide range of communications-oriented experience that would be beneficial for any concentration.
Until this year, North Road was solely a Public Relations firm. Now, the firm welcomes students from all concentrations, giving them the opportunity to work with local organizations and gain real-world insights into the communications industry. In addition to their PR team, the firm now incorporates their creative team and advertising team into their client’s communications plans.
“Having students with new areas of expertise working with us is extremely valuable because now we have the capability to produce more multi-media work for our clients, whereas before we were pretty limited in the services we could provide, having only PR majors,” said Gamba.
All of North Road’s clients this year are nonprofit organizations in the local Hudson Valley area. These include Meals on Wheels of Hyde Park, National Alliance on Mental Health, and BeaconArts.
Meals on Wheels prepares and delivers meals to senior citizens in the local Poughkeepsie area who do not have the resources to feed themselves on their own. Each March, North Road helps the organization participate in March for Meals, educating locals about Meals on Wheels and how they can get involved. Last year, North Road helped Meals on Wheels gain an extra 30 volunteers including restaurant owners, local legislators, and members of the Marist community.
The National Alliance on Mental Health, Mid-Hudson chapter, helps those affected by mental illness (patients and families) deal with the challenges of living these types of lives. The current campaign that North Road is helping this organization with is called “Change the Face of Mental Illness,” which is a photo campaign. According to this project’s Account Executive, Junior Emily Crowley, the campaign’s goal is to “showcase students disclosing that they have mental illness or that they support people with mental illness in getting the help they need in order to become well again.”
The organization also runs summer programs, mainly for BeaconArts, by planning and implementing the Beacon Independent Film Festival. This event happens every September, showcasing local filmmaker’s short or long independent film projects and encouraging support of Hudson Valley arts.
Alumni of the program have also gone on to land incredible career opportunities post-graduation. Monica Couvillion, who was a 2016 graduate of the Marist Communications program with a concentration in Public Relations, now works for Edelman in New York City, which is one of the largest Public Relations firms in America. She was the Firm Director for North Road throughout her senior year at Marist.
North Road Communications offers students the unique opportunity to gain real world experience in a comfortable setting; alongside their peers and colleagues. They get professional insights and learn about the intricacies of integrated communications, all while working with real world clients. This organization is one of the many programs Marist offers that gives students a competitive advantage in the professional world.
Written by Shannon Donohue '17
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