The perfect blend: Student campaign supports Burlington Animal Services

Four students in Assistant Professor Michele Lashley’s Strategic Campaigns class partnered with Burlington Animal Services and local coffee shops to raise awareness for the animal service organization.

Coffee and dogs aren’t typically associated with one other, but they’re two things people often say they love and cannot live without.

A look at the coffee sleeves that were designed to promote Burlington Animal Services.

Four students in Assistant Professor Michele Lashley’s Strategic Campaigns course used this idea to present a student-produced campaign – developed during the course in fall 2020 – to Burlington Animal Services.

Elon students Samantha Casamento ’21, Megan Mosheim ’21, Hallie Therrien ’21 and Isabella Campione ’21 brainstormed an idea to have the animal program partner with local coffee shops to build and spread brand awareness.

“A lot of people think of it as a place where dogs get euthanized, and that just isn’t the case – they have an incredibly low euthanasia rate,” Casamento said. “Burlington Animal Services literally does everything in their power not to do that. So, we tried to turn the community’s perspective upside down and make people realize that they’re actually doing an amazing service for the community.”

The students pitched their campaign to Burlington Animal Services over Zoom at the end of the fall semester, but the group was unaware that the organization chose to use the campaign until they saw a newsletter that featured the coffee sleeves Casamento designed and a description of the campaign.

“Drinking coffee is something that makes people happy – something that some people can’t live without,” Lashley said. “The students tied into that by saying that, like coffee, people can’t live without companionship … and talking about how Burlington Animal Services wanted to make companionship more available to the community.”

Lashley said it’s enjoyable to see local organizations take her students’ ideas and implement them in the real world.

“I think it helps students see that what they do can make a difference,” Lashley said. “Secondly, in some cases, it might be a student’s first time coming up with a creative solution, and actually getting implemented, and that’s a fun thing to have happen,” Lashley said.

While Casamento said she didn’t have much public relations experience as some of her group members going into the project, she quickly created a role for herself. As her team’s creative director, she designed campaign logos and flyers along with the coffee sleeves.

The recent graduate called the course an amazing experience and said she was glad to see the newsletter before leaving Elon.

“I’m using the skills that I learned in that class in my job now, which is super fun, and Elon has prepared me so well for that,” said Casamento, who is an account coordinator at EvolveMKD, a digital communications and public relations agency in New York.

The coffee sleeves can be found at Irazú Coffee on campus, The Oak House in Elon, and Biggby Coffee and Salvation Coffee Company in Burlington.