Conestoga news

February 16, 2024 2:10 PM

Public relations students begin capstone projects to develop pitches for clients

Bachelor of Public Relations students at Conestoga started work on their capstone projects, creating communication strategies for real-world clients.

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Conestoga Public Relations students recently visited the Westfield Heritage Village, a client they're working with for their capstone project.

The completed campaigns will add to their professional portfolios and demonstrate they’re ready to apply their learning to industry standards when they graduate.

“Our Capstone requires students to develop a comprehensive strategic communications campaign for a real client, bringing together four years of learning and two co-op work terms,” said Paula Barrett, professor and program co-ordinator. “The stakes are high as we look for professional calibre work in order to give our stamp of approval that they're truly ready to enter the field.”

The project blends experiential learning with mentorship by clients, who are all Conestoga graduates thrilled to give back to the program and take current students under their wing as they understand the capstone process as well as the huge value the student work brings to clients.

Students are first placed in research teams and spend six weeks conducting research to address a public relations challenge or opportunity detailed in the client's case. This research includes focus groups, surveys, interviews and scholarly research to better understand the business challenge.

They produce a professional research report and then split off to tackle the strategy and creative work individually. They each present their final projects to clients at an in-person, boardroom-style presentation in April and an award is presented to one student in each client category.

This year’s clients include Baffin Footwear and Apparel, a subsidiary of Canada Goose; Capacity Canada, a charity that helps other charities build their capacity in areas such as fundraising and governance; and Westfield Heritage Village, a living history museum owned by Hamilton Conservation Authority.

Hamilton Conservation is excited to enlist the Conestoga students to attract new younger visitors to the museum.

“Who better to ask than college students for their insight and opinions to help HCA craft programming, communications materials, and social media in a way that more directly speaks to that audience,” said Jasmine Marinelli, marketing co-ordinator and program graduate.

They’re the audience the heritage museum wants to learn about the historical attraction and come out to visit. As a program graduate, Marinelli knows firsthand the benefit of the project that blends hands-on and theoretical knowledge and wanted to share that with current students.

“I’m thankful to be able to mentor them and help them go through this process,” Marinelli said.

Conestoga's Bachelor of Communications Management degree is the first of its kind in Canada, blending the best of a Business degree with the best of a Communications degree. It’s built on the solid foundation of its predecessor program, the Bachelor of Public Relations. This robust business degree meets strong marketplace demand for professional communicators with business acumen.

*Renamed Bachelor of Communications Management for students entering in 2023 and beyond