By Pat Loftus
Located in Murphy, there is a small room painted yellow. Inside that room there are ten students. Inside of those students there are brains. Inside of those brains there are synapses. And inside those synapses are thoughts, ideas and solutions that matter. So why do these synapses matter?
The answer is simple. Without a communications team to lead businesses in the right direction, there is no business at all. Behind each and every business is a formula that makes them successful. Students at St. Bonaventure are responsible for engineering the advertising and public relations that head projects lasting long after their tenure on campus. They are building relationships with real clients, and carrying out professional work at little to no cost.
Synapse Matters is St. Bonaventure’s first-ever student-run advertising and public relations agency, specializing in communicative marketing research, branding and digital marketing over social media.
The twelve-credit course for Strategic Communication and Digital Marketing majors is professor guided, as opposed to being taught. This means that students assume all responsibility and leadership as it pertains to their individual client.
Clients include the merchants of North Union Street, the Jandoli School of Journalism and Mass Communication and the group itself, who built and developed a new identity for the agency, changing its initial name from the “Stalwart Group” to Synapse Matters.
Students have run fast with the guinea pig course, much further and faster than expected. Currently, proposals and recommendations are being finalized for each project in preparation for a final presentation tailored to each client.
Those students working with the merchants of North Union Street are a part of an incredibly large-scale project: keeping business alive in downtown Olean during the upcoming construction phase and revitalization of the city.
Molly McDonough, junior strategic communication and digital media major and a lead on the Walkable Olean team, explained the most rewarding part of the project.
“Working on the Walkable Olean project has allowed my team and me to make a difference for the many residents of Olean who want to bring back the vibrant downtown,” McDonough said. “Making a difference in the lives of many makes it all worth it.”
The importance of marketing and maintaining the image of Synapse Matters cannot be undermined. Students have developed skills in web design and content creation, by starting up their own website synapsematters.com. Social media platforms are also up and running on Twitter, YouTube and Instagram.
Shanelle Meyer, a junior strategic communication and digital media major, has been working vigorously all semester to develop and build the brand itself. She puts into words her thoughts on Synapse Matters.
“We started with nothing and made it into something recognizable, something we can be proud of and pass on to other students willing to work as hard as we did,” Meyer said.
The course is overseen by three directors, Michael Jones-Kelly, Shelley Jack, and Richard Lee, all of whom are professors within the Journalism and Mass Communication School. Each director has experience in the advertising, marketing and public relations fields.
Synapse Matters is meant to attract people with an interest in the ins and outs of an advertising agency as well as the communications field. Even if you are unsure which path you choose to take within the major, the group will serve as a hands-on experience and a look into the world of client services and account management. All freethinkers and big dreamers are welcome.