SMC sports management students devise marketing strategy

Students with SMC’s sports management are developing a special camp for area high school athletes that will take place this summer. Pictured are students, from left, Andrew Benson, Edwardsburg; MiKayla Handy, Edwardsburg; Jacob Juhasz, Niles; Kaylie McEndarfer, Marcellus; and Amir Muhammad, Edwardsburg. (Submitted photo)

Students with SMC’s sports management are developing a special camp for area high school athletes that will take place this summer. Pictured are students, from left, Andrew Benson, Edwardsburg; MiKayla Handy, Edwardsburg; Jacob Juhasz, Niles; Kaylie McEndarfer, Marcellus; and Amir Muhammad, Edwardsburg. (Submitted photo)

Ritch Reynolds’ Southwestern Michigan College sports management students have created an internal and external marketing campaign to spread awareness of their new program.

To reach out into the community they are developing a 10-day “Bigger, Faster, Stronger” camp for 20 junior and senior athletes June 20 through July 1.

“They’ll bring their final product to (the administration) for approval,” Reynolds said.

Their Facebook page will list events they host or attend, illustrated with photos. They also created a social media video, which concludes: “You’ve always had a love for sports and athleticism. The end of your high school career doesn’t mean the end of that love.”

Images highlight intramural soccer and basketball and SMC’s fitness center.

To target SMC’s internal audience, they plan a booth and interactive game at April 20’s Campus Bash and are looking into hosting its home-run derby.

“Our vision as a collective is to get our students involved and entertained when they come to our booth,” Andrew Benson, MiKayla Handy, Jacob Juhasz, Kaylie McEndarfer and Amir Muhammad stated in a presentation to college business and marketing officials in the Student Activity Center on SMC’s Dowagiac campus.

They also plan to start a sports management student club.

Benson, Handy and Muhammad are from Edwardsburg, Juhasz lives in Niles and McEndarfer hails from Marcellus.

“We want to get the word out about the sports management program at SMC. We will either be putting on life-size water pong or slip-and-slide bowling. The idea is to make students remember our booth and, if they are undecided, it is a way for them to check out what the program has to offer.”

The table will display information on the sports management major, with a list of required classes and pictures from their trip to an Indiana Pacers basketball game, including a facility tour, and volunteer experiences.

“We do not have certain approval for events at the bash, however, we are coordinating with the appropriate people to make sure everything is set in advance. We really want to show that the program is not only fun, but beneficial since there are so many different paths one can go down with this degree.”

Their own stories testify to that.

“I was already a student here in human resource management,” Handy said. “Now I’m pursuing recreational fitness.”

“I’m a communications major,” said Muhammad, who Feb. 19 performed improv at Dowagiac’s Beckwith Theatre.

“I have a huge love for sports and coaching,” McEndarfer said. “My dream would be general manager of the Chicago Bulls.”

“I was also a student here before,” Juhasz said. “I heard on Pandora (Internet radio) on new programs starting last fall and it sounded interesting. I was originally going for education, but coaching more than teaching.”

Benson also heard about sports management via Pandora.

“I was going for a business degree, but I’m not the greatest at accounting,” Benson said.

“You’re absolutely barking up the right tree,” Joanne Strebeck of the business faculty said. “A fundamental thing in any marketing campaign is to market yourself internally and sell the people closest to you — faculty and administration — first.”

Vice President of Student Services Eileen Crouse, who oversees SMC’s marketing department, recommended students compile a “comprehensive wish list” with price quotes for banners, T-shirts and wristbands.

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