Marketing UNCW’s Midnite Madness & Fan Jam


Photo courtesy of the Association for Campus Entertainment.

In the past two years, UNCW’s Basketball program has grown in prominence and recognition, not only on our campus, but on the college basketball scene as a whole. As a former Spirit Chair for the Association for Campus Entertainment, I was beyond excited when the Men’s team started winning. One of the best ways to garner school spirit on a college campus is to give students something to root for. Events intended to boost that school spirit, like Midnite Madness and ACE’s Fan Jam, are not new to UNCW’s campus, but appear to be getting some new—and well deserved—recognition.


Some decked-out fans at Fan Jam. Photo courtesy of ACE.

This past Friday, ACE worked with the Residence Hall Association, Athletics Department, Campus Dining, and more to organize the event known as Fan Jam. The purpose of Fan Jam is to get UNCW fans excited about the upcoming basketball season, while rewarding them with free games, shirts, and food. It is a way to thank fans for supporting UNCW’s sports teams. In the past, this event occurred after Midnite Madness and ran late into the night. However, this year Maddie Driggers, the current Spirit Chair for ACE, moved the event to 8 p.m., meaning it would take place before Midnite Madness. As with all her events, Maddie was tasked with discovering fun and engaging marketing techniques to inform students about the event and its new time.

IMG_2792  Basketball cookies made by Campus Dining. Photo courtesy of ACE.

Aside from creating a flyer and posting the event details on social media, Maddie and her committee members tabled around campus. At their table, students could win Midnite Madness t-shirts by making a basket in a child-sized basketball hoop. This technique proved effective because curiosity drew a lot of people to the table. Additionally, the students were more engaged with the information because they were getting a reward. The Athletics Department also provided glowing foam sticks with “Seahawks” written on them. This giveaway helped market the event because they were conversation starters and looked amazing in photos.


The glowing rods in action at Midnite Madness. Photo from UNCW Athletics’s Facebook.

The foam rods can also be used a sporting events throughout the year and the photos can be used for promotional purposes for upcoming games. On the Tuesday before Midnite Madness, the Athletics Department hosted a Teal Tuesday event where they gave away more t-shirts and free food. They held other events during the week, like an ice cream social. At each of these events, Sammy was present to take photos with students and encourage them to participate.


Sammy at Fan Jam with students. Photo courtesy of the Association for Campus Entertainment.

Overall, the key marketing strategies used by ACE and the Athletics Department for these events were face-to-face interaction with their key public (the students) and freebies. Both groups were also consistent in their marketing in the week leading up to the big day, maximizing the amount of students who learned about the events. In the end, Fan Jam had an estimated 500 students attend the event, the majority of whom went to Midnite Madness directly after making the day quite the success.


By: Katie Solinski

Humans of COM Studies: Lauren Arsena


Photo courtesy of Lauren Arsena.

Lauren Arsena entered UNCW in the Fall of 2014. At the time, she knew she was interested in marketing, but was unsure which major would be the best fit for her. She quickly discovered COM and the potential the department had to teach her, not only marketing, but advertising, public relations, and more.

In terms of campus involvement, Lauren is the President of the Association for Campus Entertainment. ACE is the student-programming board at UNCW; they are responsible for a wide variety of events across campus, including the Jesse McCartney concert in Kenan Auditorium last Friday, September 22. Lauren was an integral part of the team that brought Jesse to campus, resulting in the fastest selling show in ACE’s history. The show sold out in less than 90 minutes.


September 22, 2017: Jesse McCartney at the concert on campus. Photo courtesy of Hayley Kane (ACE Photographer).

Lauren first decided to join ACE because she wanted to have a say in planning events for campus, while still having fun. Before becoming the president, Lauren was the Special Events Chair, now known as the Activities chair. She worked on a few of ACE’s traditional events like Last Seahawk Standing and Speed Dating. She created a few new events of her own as well, including Swing Dancing and Salsa Dancing lessons–both free for students. Last fall, she brought an improv group to campus for a Murder Mystery Dinner. Guests interacted with the characters to learn who the killer was.


Lauren (right) and the Spirit Committee Chair Maddie (left) outside of Lumina Theater before one of ACE’s films. Photo courtesy of Hayley Kane (ACE Photographer).

She has gotten the opportunity to apply a lot of the knowledge from her courses to her position in ACE and vice versa. Lauren states, “I’m on the PR/IMC track, so I’ve learned a lot about how to effectively market on social media. ACE also helps me in my classes because I have experience in event planning, leadership, teamwork, and public speaking.”

Along with ACE, Lauren works as a Calendar Assistant for Campus Life. She uses Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator to create the calendars in the bathrooms of the Fisher Student Center and Union. Her experience with the Adobe Creative Cloud inspired her to add a Digital Arts minor.

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Two of Lauren’s recent calendars. Lately, she has been hiding a Pac-man ghost somewhere in the design. See if you can spot him! Photos courtesy of Lauren Arsena.

After graduation, Lauren would like to work in event planning for a few years. In the long term, she would like to return to school to work on a masters degree in Student Affairs. Her goal is to work with a student-programming board like ACE.


September 26, 2017: Lauren (far right) photographed here with Brandon Stanton (center), the creator of Humans of New York. Brandon’s work is the inspiration behind this post. Photo courtesy of Stefani Norris (right of Brandon).

“Interpersonal COM, public speaking, and PR have taught me how to market myself better to others so I feel more confident and ready to enter the workforce after I graduate.”

By: Katie Solinski

Humans of COM Studies: A Profile on Katie South

During your first couple years at UNCW, it can be difficult to get involved on campus outside of clubs and sports. College can seem overwhelming at first when trying to pick a major and get involved on campus that coincide with your career goals. Maybe you came to college not knowing what you were going to major in or had an idea of what your dream job was, but realized you were not cut out for it. What do you do then? Do you try a new field and try to gain job experience, or do you just give up? Katie South, a junior in the Communication Studies department, went through a similar situation during her first couple years at UNCW.

When Katie began her freshman year in the fall of 2015, she knew she wanted to be a Communication Studies major. “I always wanted to be a sideline reporter,” Katie said. “I soon realized that I didn’t know nearly enough about sports to do that, but the major is so versatile that I figured I would still be able to find something I’d enjoy.” She started working for the UNCW Campus Dining Peer-to-Peer sales team in the fall semester of her sophomore year; she, along with a team of other students in a variety of majors, tabled around campus to inform students about their meal plan options and take surveys that fit them with their best option. This job opened up opportunities for Katie that she never expected. “I thought it would be good experience for me to get more involved with campus and meet other students. The other job I had at the time took most of my free time, so I didn’t get involved with other school activities like I had wished. But working for the Peer-to-Peer sales team gave me that opportunity to meet new people while still earning money and gaining experience with sales and marketing.”

P2P pic

When taking the core COM classes, it may seem like you would never use some of those skills in a real profession. It can sometimes be difficult to see how your classes would pertain to a real job in the adult-world when sitting in lecture after lecture, but gaining experience in on-campus jobs can help you see the importance of these classes. Katie goes on to say that “being able to apply the communication skills I was learning with real students in real world situations gave me a new appreciation for what I was learning. I was able to build upon my interpersonal communication skills and pick up on students’ nonverbal cues that I may have previously overlooked had I not taken these classes.”

While Katie was just expecting to stay on the Peer-to-Peer team throughout college, a job opportunity with Auxiliary Services opened up that she couldn’t pass up. She got the position of marketing assistant about a month ago that allows her to work directly with the marketing specialist to “complete project research, develop promotional and informational materials, plan and attend public relations activities, among a variety of other activities.” Although she has only been in this position for a short time, it is something she is interested in staying in for a while. She has even started considering going to graduate school here and staying in her current position or finding a similar job within the marketing field. Katie has been able to use skills from COM classes such as 101, 200, 232, and 280 that she never thought she would use in a real-world setting, but now utilizes them every day at her new job.

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“My biggest piece of advice that I could give underclassmen is to not limit themselves. I had no desire to pursue marketing when I first started here at UNCW; I was determined to graduate and go straight into the news field. Once I opened myself up to the Peer-to-Peer sales team, I realized how much I loved working with people and being that line of communication when there’s confusion.” Katie shows us every day why being a student in the Communication Studies department is so rewarding and vital to succeeding in any job market. By embracing new ideas and gaining experience in various fields of work, you might be able to find your niche and succeed more than you ever thought possible.

It’s Common Sense… Graduate with Experience!


At some point, every college student is faced with the existential realization that their time at UNCW will end and they will have to go into “the real world.” One of the most common problems graduates run into is finding a job without experience. It’s a never-ending cycle: you need experience to get a job and you need a job to get experience. Thankfully, there are several things you can do while you are still in college to get the experience you need to snag a job straight out of college.

Get an Internship

Taking an internship is one of the best things I ever did at UNCW. My internships encouraged me to pursue a career in Integrated Marketing Communication. Through my internships, I gained valuable experience and had the chance to learn what skills were in demand and what I should work on before I entered the job market. If you have a chance, try to get multiple internships while you are still a student. Seawork is always full opportunities. I got my first internship during my first semester of college. Since then, I have had two other internships and will graduate this year with over four years of experience in my field.

An internship is a great way to gain experience while connecting with potential employers. According to a 2016 report by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), internship experiences significantly increase a student’s chance of being offered a job after college and receiving a higher starting salary. In addition, 46% of students who participated in an internship received a job offer.

Enroll in an Applied Learning Class

When it comes to experience, you couldn’t have picked a better school. UNCW places a strong emphasis on connecting its students with applied learning opportunities. Applied learning is the chance to take the theories, ideas, and skills one learns in the classroom and apply it to real life situations. Most upper-level communication studies courses place an emphasis on applied learning. For example, our IMC II class is helping UNCW research the impact crises have on its brand image. Experiences like these are great for your resume and provide valuable experience that is sure to impress employers.

Learn Something New

As communication studies majors, we are taught to be lifelong learners. The job market is constantly shifting and employers are always looking for new sets of skills. Learning something new can make you much more marketable in the job market. Instead of turning on Parks and Recreation or The Office, spend some time learning about SEO, Analytics, Facebook Ads, or other skills that are relevant to your field. Aren’t sure what to look for? Searching for jobs online is a great way to learn which skills are in demand and what you should be working on.

Don’t Stress

As a student, the idea of preparing to get a job can sometimes seem overwhelming. You may feel like you’ll never have enough skills or experience to achieve success. My advice is to take things one step at a time. Go on Seawork and apply for an internship, sign up for an upper-level communication studies class, look at WordPress tutorials on your phone between classes, or sign up for a (super inexpensive) Adwords or Analytics certification class at CIE. No matter what you do, there’s a job that can use your skills. Keep on learning and growing. You got this.

Photo from

-K. Layne Smith


In case the hurricane comes or it doesn’t or it does or it doesn’t…here are some suggested ways you can be prepared according to credible social media sources such as Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and Instagram.

1)    First of all, check to see where the predictions are currently standing and how you should take precautions.


2)    Whatever you do, DO NOT forget your charger if you do need to evacuate the area.


3)    Make sure you tie your house down before you leave, because that is extremely important.

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4) If you are are not evacuating try to put some of your household appliances to use. Throw ice in your washer before the storm and use it as a cooler! The water drains out anyway, so that’s actually not a bad idea! Yes, thank you Pinterest. 


5)  Place important documents, pictures, and books into your dishwasher to make sure they stay safe and dry.


I think you are ready now! You know exactly where the storm is headed, you have your charger, hopefully you’re gathering tools to tie your house down, drying out your dishwasher, and loading your washer with ice and drinks! You have nothing to stress about. Just sit back and relax, right?

If you have noticed a pattern with some of the artifacts that have been presented on how you can prepare – it could be that you have seen them before, or that they are all a little humorous, but most importantly they all share a common factor being that they are all memes.

In just a short about of time with the announcement of the hurricanes, several memes have been surfacing the internet and have gone viral.

What makes a meme go viral?

Memes have become a cultural trend and something that have become a part of our popular culture over the several years. Most of the time they are humorous, it’s a visual (and pictures are worth a thousand words), and it’s almost like an inside joke. For example:

4824576Screen Shot 2017-09-08 at 6.57.00 PMEasily the girl on most “Ermagerd” memes quickly became the girl who was posted on all of the “Irma Gerd” memes. If you didn’t know who she was you from her popularity on previously memes you may have thought they were still funny but not known who this girl was and why her face was the chosen one. I think it can now be declared the world’s favorite meme and hashtag paired with this storm.

There is a negative side to memes. Since they are such a huge part of our culture and entertainment they could be used as a method of persuasion. Although we want them to be harmless, as Dr. Deanna D sellnow stated at the Integrated Marketing Communication Conference, “some entertainments initial purpose was not made to be persuasive however because of that it could potentially be even more persuasive and compelling because we aren’t anticipating persuasion”. That seems to be a pattern with memes, as they are mostly made to be humorous some do become reality.

An example of this is with the memes dedicating their attention to the tracks of the hurricanes. As frustrating as it may be to not know where the hurricane could be headed it is better to be informed of what we do know as soon as possible, rather than waiting until is it 100% accurate and we have the potential of it being too late. After all, communication is key amiright? 

In all seriousness, stay safe during this storm and check credible news sources on how to prepare for the storm! But wait, there’s more….


-Josie Edwards


Taking the Leap Proved to be Worth It

It’s safe to say that before I came to UNCW and became a communication studies major, I was living with my eyes closed. It’s hard to put into words just how thankful I am that I decided to attend UNCW, but I’ll give it my best shot.

I will start with the university as a whole.

Not only is it located in a beautiful place geographically, just look at the campus, but it is filled with people who are dedicated to getting the most out of every student. Transferring from a smaller school, I have to admit I was worried at first about becoming just another number lost in the crowd. I would soon realize that this was far from the case.

UNCW proved to be the perfect place to learn and grow

Not only did I feel right at home here, but my belief that the education I was going to receive would be superior, was confirmed.

As a transfer student going from already being a COM major, to PCOM, and forced to take public speaking, I was not exactly thrilled about my decision to attend UNCW my first semester.

Those initial feelings of doubt could not be farther from how I feel now.

After getting through the gateway courses, I started to realize how much being a COM major at UNCW had to offer. Taking courses outside of my focus such as interracial communication and political communication, combined with courses such as IMC I and Advertising II, helped me gain a broader perspective of the world and a better understanding of how everything is connected.

In addition to providing me with this broader and better understanding of the world, it also made me think more critically about it.

Everything is not always as it appears and it is important to understand how to think for yourself. Every course I have taken here has addressed this mindset, and is something that UNCW and the COM department should take great pride in.

Not every university prepares students equally

As a-soon-to be graduate from UNCW, I am more prepared to start my career than I could have ever imagined. I will be forever grateful for this, but I am more grateful for how prepared I will be to better myself in all aspects of my life.

My eyes are now open, and I will do my best to understand all I see.

Brian Clifford ’17








Here’s to Being Thankful My Plan A Sucked.

My last blog post on here, wow. I can’t believe it’s over.

Alright, here we go-

I didn’t plan on going to UNCW; it just wasn’t my ‘Plan A’.

I didn’t plan on anything happening the way it did. But you know, life is funny like that.

My whole life, I had always lived by the beach. But my freshmen year of college at ECU made me feel completely landlocked, lost, and not at all satisfied with tailgates and purple/gold color coordination. The pirate’s life was in fact not for me. I was miserable, and sooo not into skipping class for football.

I didn’t have a Plan B, so I just went for it, and followed my way back to the coast and transferred.

I never really found my fit in the land of purple and gold. But when I came to UNCW, it felt like home. And the funniest thing about it? I’m here because my ‘Plan A’ failed miserably. I fell in love with my school, my major, and my new found home. And I was completely okay with skipping class for the beach.

I’ve taken in all that I can from the journey that has been the past 3 years. And I learned so much. I learned what a COM major at UNCW should learn, but I also learned 2 crucial life lessons from my college experience:

  1. Your plans will potentially suck and fail.
  2. Your failed plans will bring you to exactly where you need to be.

So here I am, right where I need to be, forever thankful that my ‘Plan A’ sucked.

UNCW will be my alma mater, and Wilmington will continue to be the place I call home. My personal and academic life plans failed for the better, and it all worked out just fine. I wish I could hug the whole university and all its’ students, faculty, and buildings because I will truly miss the Dub Life.

I hope those of you reading this take your time at UNCW and in Wilmington. It’s a beautiful little place in a wonderful city. I hope you don’t get discouraged when your plans fail you. Actually, you should plan for all of your plans to fail, even the most secure ones. And if your plan fails? Just ride the wave of it until you reach the shore you’re destined to land at.

It’ll be a hell of a ride, I promise.

Kayla Millie ’17