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Elon in NYC: Dan Haygood sells Madison Avenue

Students in Elon University's Elon in New York City domestic summer internship program take a four-credit-hour course called "The Streets of New York City" that requires them to study the Big Apple from the ground level so that they may develop a deeper and richer understanding of the city in which they'll live and intern until Aug. 6.

Before landing in New York, the 29 students had to choose a street, neighborhood or region of the city that they would want to examine for the duration of their summers. They’ll research the history of the area, talk to people who live or work there and generally observe the action and surroundings. At the end of the program, they’ll produce an ethnographic study that will detail their specific corner of Manhattan.

Helping them through their projects and providing unique insights about the bustling city are four faculty members, all of whom spend two focused weeks with the students. The story that follows details Communications assistant professor Dan Haygood’s portion of the course.


Dan Haygood likes to put young people in front of young people. In other words, he gives the students in the Elon in New York City program the opportunity to experience success vicariously through a group of slightly older—yet still young—alumni. Haygood wants the students to see that successful careers do await them in a big city, so he lets those alumni network with students and help organize his two weeks in New York.

Dan Haygood

“One thing I’ve been grateful for is I’ve been able to rely on my students as contacts from both Elon and the University of Tennessee,” said Haygood, who worked at UT before coming to Elon two years ago. “‘Madison Avenue’ has been put together by young people who I taught, and they’re still really young.”

As Haygood mentioned, he teaches the “Madison Avenue” portion of the Elon in NYC experience. He focuses, in large part, on advertising and public relations, but he also exposes the students to the advancement of digital technology and content delivery.

On his first Monday in the city, he and the students will visit Young & Rubicam, a full-service, traditional advertising agency located on Madison Avenue. Later in the day, they’ll tour Ketchum, a public relations agency, and meet with two recent Elon grads (Shauna Decoteau ’10, who works at BBDO, and Dani Rounds ’10, who works at Deutsch Agency), who will talk to the students about the challenges and opportunities of working in New York.

The following Monday, the first stop will be at the advertising agency Hill Holliday, where students will learn about experiential marketing and recent trends in digital advertising. Then, they’ll visit Viacom and the New York Times.

Students in the Elon in NYC program visited Robert F. Wagner Park.

“I want them to have a good grasp of the vibrancy of the advertising field, and how it is changing based on digital technology and how digital technology is driving rapid change in the field,” Haygood said.

Haygood, who teaches Advertising in Society, Sports Information and Advertising Techniques in the School of Communications, said he also values the optional activities he can participate in with the students. And this summer, he’s arranged noncompulsory tours of Columbia University’s graduate journalism school and Seventeen magazine.

“To me, the highlight last year were the optional activities,” he said.

Haygood worked professionally in the New York for a number of years, and he said the opportunity to go back for a couple of weeks in the summer is an experience he savors.

“This is the greatest thing,” he said. “It’s so much fun.”

Colin Donohue,
6/16/2011 1:49 PM