Marketing research students complete service learning projects for local organizations

Students provided strategic marketing plans and implementations through research and analyzing data for Elon community partners.

Timothy Norvell, assistant professor of marketing, has taught more than 100 students in the past academic year incorporating service learning into his marketing research course.

Community partners such as the Alamance County Boys & Girls Club, Positive Attitude Youth Center, Blakey Hall Retirement Community and Alamance County Community Services benefited from the student projects.

Students conducted research for the community partners, gauging people’s perceptions and how they could better market themselves to the community through strategic recommendations. Students in the fall and spring semesters presented their research and marketing plans to the organization at the end of the semester.

“Service learning is a win-win,” Norvell said. “Students get hands-on experience with project management and it provides a great service to the community.”

Through conducting research, analyzing data and reporting results students were exposed to the unique needs of nonprofit organizations working to benefit the community.

“My team’s market research helped the Positive Attitude Youth Center better understand how to connect with members of the community,” said Nathan James ’14, a marketing and finance major. “With this information, the organization will be able to more effectively reach out to donors and volunteers, and thus better serve at-risk youth in the community.”

Students worked in groups, meeting with community partners at least twice during the semester, putting in at least 20 hours of work into each project.

“Before the course I imagined data analytics was just something Fortune 500 companies did, but we were able to conduct meaningful research to make a substantial impact on the Burlington community,” said Danny Bowers ’14, a marketing major.

Will Llamas ’14, a marketing major, worked to improve the Congregate Meal Program, which provides free, healthy meals to elderly people in a social setting.

“Being able to interact with this elderly group and knowing I was conducting research to help prolong their lives made me feel like I was making a real difference,” Llamas said. “I also would always picture my grandparents in the program, which would help me do the best work I could possibly do.”