Planting the CEAD: Marketing Sustainability Efforts

Connecticut Environmental Action Day flyer.

Identifying the benefits of a product and how they meet the needs of the customer is vital for the success of any marketing campaign.

To that end, a team of eight University of Connecticut senior honors students recently created a marketing campaign that would achieve visibility through a campus-wide event.

Earlier this year, the students partnered with UConn Extension to boost visibility for its work. The program collaborates with a diverse set of local groups in farming and other industries to provide information that will help solve problems related to food production, health, and sustainability.

At the outset, Rebecca Demaio (BUS) says team members were surprised at how few students understand what UConn Extension does.

In order to build awareness for the program within the university community, the group decided to promote UConn Extension’s sustainability work by hosting the Connecticut Environmental Action Day (CEAD), a day-long educational event for middle school students, on March 29, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., on the Student Union terrace. For UConn undergraduates, it’s an opportunity to volunteer.

Jeremy Keckler (BUS) says the goal of making Extension more visible to UConn students is a critical challenge.

“Extension largely works with the community,” he says. “CEAD is a great opportunity to connect the lines between Extension and campus groups.”

Students aren’t necessarily interested in farmer resources, he notes, but they are interested in sustainability efforts.

“The sustainability aspect was one where we felt we could make a direct impact,” adds Demaio.

The team also learned that when reaching out to other campus groups, it’s important to have an enthusiastic point person.

Brenna Kelly (BUS) says the group is working to engage the UConn student body by teaming up with various student organizations, such as UConnPIRG, Spring Valley Student Farm, EcoHusky, and more. “CEAD will be a day for the UConn student body to learn more about the issues influencing climate change.”

This year’s CEAD is focused on increasing awareness for UConn Extension among the student body. Involving other departments in the future could be a bridge to begin making bigger changes.

The group’s work with UConn Extension has been more than just a new project – it’s their group honors thesis. Keckler says they’ve learned a lot about the mechanics of working on an eight-person team.

These are all important and directly translatable skills for working as entry-level marketing analysts, says Demaio, who adds that without a doubt, it has changed the way she views the world.

The group is hopeful that their project will serve as a framework for future marketing students to take up the torch and expand upon the work.

“All it takes is one person,” says Kelly. Take the pledge to #ExtendtheChange.