The Mill is a student-run public relations and integrated marketing agency within the School of Design at Stevenson University that works with organizations within the university as well as outside of it. In its third year, the course is currently being taught by Meghan Marx, associate professor of graphic design. Each year, the students in the class take on new clients and offer a range of services.
Dr. Leeanne Bell McManus, professor of business communication, along with Stephanie Verni, professor of business communication, will supervise the course in the fall. Verni explained how The Mill enhances the student experience of working in a full-service agency that provides a wide range of services for organizations and companies.
Verni said that the services provided by the agency include many different areas, but are also not limited to any one in particular. Some examples of the students’ services include graphic design, public relations, social media, video and film work, marketing strategy, web design and many more.
The Mill differs from other on-campus clubs and organizations as it is actually a course for credit. Students are able receive instruction and gain experience working with real clients in a setting that is similar to a real-world agency, explained Verni.
She added that The Mill is much like a work-study experience, with students working on real projects for real people in a classroom setting. Students have the option to take the course for a semester as well as for a year.
Coming into the 2020-2021 school year, The Mill will be working with Stevenson alum Megan Lanasa Basdekis, a business communication graduate and owner of BricKnFire Pizza, explained Verni. BricknFire is located in the Baltimore Marriott across from Camden Yards, home to the Baltimore Orioles.
The Mill will provide several services to BricknFire Pizza. Students enrolled in the class will be conducting a variety of branding, public relations, social media and creation of in-store designs. Verni added that Basdekis owns three pizza trucks as well, for which the class will also will be creating campaigns.
Along with working with real clients, there is a hope that in the future there will be a designated space in the School of Design where the course will work on projects, similar to an agency office. Currently the space is being designed to have movable parts, interactive spaces, work tables, computers, and white boards for creative design thinking, explained Verni.
She added that not only do students gain experience with real clients, but they also get to be a part of an interactive design and communication team. Each student has his or her own responsibilities and role to play within the agency, offering the students similar experience to working in the real world.
Bell McManus added that she feels students will gain a great deal of entrepreneurship and promoting skills, especially working with someone who was once in their shoes.
Verni added that she and Bell McManus have their sights set on allowing students to blossom in this environment. Students with a hearty work ethic, creative tendencies, strong writing and communications skills and an aptitude for design will gain enormous experience from this course.
Verni said that she was previously in charge of creative staffs prior to joining the faculty at Stevenson, and to recreate that setting in a college environment is rewarding and fun.
Any students in the School of Design are eligible to register for the class, though there are some prerequisites. Those in other majors simply need the department chair’s permission to enroll. If interested, contact Dr. Nadene Vevea through campus email.