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OWOW, Open for Business team up

OWOW joined a long list of companies and organizations that have grown their businesses with the help of MSU Denver marketing students.

May 13, 2013

By Lisa Walton

The One World, One Water Center for Urban Water Education and Stewardship (OWOW) this semester joined a long list of companies and organizations that have grown their businesses with the help of MSU Denver marketing students.

The students, enrolled in the Senior Seminar in Marketing course, are participants in the Marketing Department’s Open for Business program, which gives students an opportunity to apply what they’ve learned by having them develop a strategic marketing plan for a local business, nonprofit, or, in OWOW’s case, an academic program.

“It’s meant to be practical experience and a good resume booster for the students, in addition to a service that MSU Denver provides to the community,” says Lecturer Darrin Duber-Smith, who teaches the class. “That’s really what this School of Business strives to do here. We really like this hands-on, workshop type work.”

OWOW was one of eight organizations the class collaborated with for the spring semester, with groups of students analyzing the ins and outs of their respective companies and organizations, and making dozens of recommendations for each.

Senior Aaron Mostenbocker, who was the group lead for the OWOW project, said it was “as real life as it can get.”

“The most important thing that I learned was the practice of honing in on others’ skill sets. And that marketing truly is applicable to everything,” he said.

Duber-Smith said Mostenbocker and his group had to think outside the box, because taking a marketing model traditionally used for a business and translating it to an academic program was challenging. Nevertheless, the OWOW presentation was one of the best in the class, he says.

OWOW Director Tom Cech says he plans to implement most of the students’ suggestions, which were provided in a professional, 100-plus page document that also included a SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats).

“We would have had to pay $12,000 to $15,000 for someone outside of campus to do this,” says Cech. “It was really first class.”  

The students identified funding, events and the educational programs the center sponsors as strengths and student awareness of the program on campus as a weakness.

The team of five students suggested the creation of an eNewsletter, which was implemented earlier in the semester. As a result of their recommendations, the center will also begin exploring the development of a water steward award and a phone app to inform users about local water resources and events on campus. In the meantime, people can also expect to see more ads on the digital displays in the Student Success Building and table tents in Dazbog and in the Tivoli Food Court.

Duber-Smith says companies wanting to participate in the program are lined-up well into next spring, and dozens of testimonials on the Open for Business web page, including one from OWOW, illustrate just how valuable of a service the marketing program provides.

“I think that OWOW is an amazing resource for this school and the community,” says Mostenbocker. “I really hope the program thrives and I know it will, especially with the support it has.”

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