Each semester the University of Missouri School of Journalism prepares its senior strategic communications students for professional success with the capstone class Journalism 4970: Strategic Campaigns, also known as Adzou. A staple of the J-School’s Missouri Method, students enrolled in Adzou work with real clients over the course of 16 weeks, creating an entire campaign from start to finish.

As stated on the MU Strategic Communications website, “by the end of this course, students should have learned the professional skills, principles and practices required for success in the advertising, PR and strategic communications industries.”

Students this past spring not only learned the professional skills required for success in their future journalism careers, but they also had the fortune of learning about the world of sustainability.  MU Sustainability added its name to the growing list of Adzou clients for the spring of 2019 and the office couldn’t be more excited to begin incorporating the students’ research and campaign into the 2019-2020 school year.   

This past semester’s team consisted of eight students, each having a designated position within the group:

Team One O One- Adzou Spring 2019

  • Laura Jones – Account
  • Nikki Sheinkop – Account Planning/Research
  • Amy Karpowicz – Video Director
  • Claire Young – Media Planner
  • Madison Seehusen – Digital Planner
  • Natalie Meyer – Copywriter
  • Pablo Suarez – Public Relations
  • Teryn Deshler – Graphic Design

According to Video Director Amy Karpowicz, collaborating and working as a team was one of the many highlights from her last academic term.

“Everyone was so great to work with,” Karpowicz said. “It wouldn’t have been possible to create such an awesome campaign without everyone working together.”

Throughout the spring, Team One O One put together primary and secondary research, conducting 16 in-depth interviews and surveying approximately 250 MU students campus-wide. Their discoveries allowed them to understand what messages and what channels would be appropriate to reach their target audience in order to educate others on sustainability and what the MU Sustainability Office has to offer.

As the team discovered, most respondents associated the word “sustainability” with the environment as well as natural resources. It was not immediately known among the majority of participants that sustainability encompassed social and economic issues as well. Account Executive Laura Jones said she was also in the same frame of mind prior to working on this campaign. However, as Jones explained Adzou was ultimately able to help the senior grow her knowledge base of sustainability when applying her journalism skills to the hands-on campaign.

“The most surprising thing I learned about sustainability is the full definition,” Jones said. “I knew about the environmental aspect, but the social equity and economic factors were something completely new to me. Honestly, going into this semester I thought sustainability was just a fancy word for recycling. All our research and planning showed me that sustainability is so much more than I initially thought.”

When Team One O One began to shape their research into an overarching theme, they looked at how impactful we can all be for sustainability as a whole. Their theme became “Sustainability Starts With Us.” MU Sustainability Program Assistant Ashley Craft agreed that the new campaign couldn’t be more appropriate with our current state of sustainability.

“The new slogan is extremely fitting as we all have to work together to achieve a more sustainable future,” Craft said. “Whether you’re a student, staff, faculty, administrator or community member, sustainability truly is on us for a healthy society, economy and environment.”

Moving forward, Karpowicz said the one piece of sustainability-focused advice she would give to students, staff and faculty is to simply educate yourself on the topics at hand.

“Once you know more about the topic, you can implement it in your life and help educate others,” Karpowicz said.

As the MU Sustainability Office is mapping out their upcoming year the team is excited to be incorporating Adzou’s new theme, event suggestions and outreach recommendations. As the office continues to plan, Adzou’s analytics and findings will hopefully allow them to reach a larger MU audience.

“One of Adzou’s findings was that most people want to lead a sustainable life, but it can be seen as an intimidating concept,” Craft explained. “As we move forward we’d like to highlight the ways we are making progress and how each of us can play an integral part within our daily lives. As Team One O One’s branding says, ‘Sustainability Starts with Us’ so let’s make sure we’re each equipped with ways to get the awareness and change in motion.”

One way to get started? In addition to thumbing through MU Sustainability’s recent piece on Setting Sustainable Goals, Jones recommends a variety of possibilities to get the wheels turning.

“I would tell (students) to follow MU Sustainability on social media to pick up great tips on how they can incorporate small sustainable changes into their lives,” Jones concluded. “Even something as simple as picking up a free reusable water bottle or turning an old t-shirt into a fun bag can help you lead a more sustainable life. Also I would tell them that sustainability can be fun! The farmers market is such a cool resource and its always cool to see and eat what local farmers are producing!”