~Banned Books Week~

As a child, I know one of the ways I loved spending my free time was by reading a good book. From fiction to nonfiction, I was hooked on learning about other worlds, places and ideas that challenged me to think in a completely different way. Even if I didn’t agree with what I read, it gave me a special opportunity to see another perspective and attempt to understand another side to an argument.

But for a second, I would like to take this moment to challenge the reader on how their lives might be different if they had not been able to read their favorite children’s book because it was banned in their public library.

As it begins to approach, the last week in September is dedicated towards Banned Books Week.Twitter1b.png

Banned Books Weekis an annual event in which we all celebrate the freedom to read. According to the American Library Association, “Banned Books Week brings together the entire book community — librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers — in shared support of the freedom to seek and express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular.”

A famous banned book actually even happens to be one of my favorite books- The Great Gatsby.


A famous banned book actually even happens to be one of my favorite books. The Great Gatsby tells a remarkable tale with a great source of imagery that really allows you to step back in time that seems quite foreign to most people of the modern age. I, for one, couldn’t imagine how I could have grown up without reading about Jay Gatsby’s unconditional love for Daisy Buchanan or learning about the symbolism that every page seems to hold. However, according to bannedbooksweek.org, it was banned because of “the book’s language and mere references to sex.”

But forget about just my own favorite, there are tons of books that are banned all over the country for not wanting to expose others to certain things that make people uncomfortable but may sometimes need to be addressed.

However, while I knew Banned Books Week was something that happened annually, I wondered how many other people actually knew when it actually was or even about it at all.

I quickly found that there are Facebook and Twitter pages ran to promote the week. These same pages also bring attention to books that are controversial and fight for the ability of free speech. This allows readers to express their opinions via social media.doctor-who-books-best-weapons-in-the-world.gifWhile there isn’t an Instagram dedicated to this week, there is a popular hashtag called #BannedBooksWeek which allows people to get the word out about this week and celebrate the books that they care so much about.

These social media pages aren’t incredibly popular with followers and uses but it gives people a chance to show the world what they care about in a free, open space.

What book do you want to read to celebrate Banned BooksWeek of 2017? Leave your answers in the comments; I can’t wait to hear about them and learn about all the exciting worlds you’ve come to love.

~Alyssa Moeller


Coffee and College: Why Coffee Companies Are Marketing on Campus

With midterms approaching, many students can be found studying on campus. Whether you’re trying to stay awake for that early morning class or cramming at a late night study session, chances are you’re drinking some kind of coffee or caffeinated beverage from a campus café. UNCW has two Starbucks, a Dunkin’ Donuts, a Port City Java, and various dining options on campus that sell coffee. Why are there so many places to purchase coffee on campus and why are coffee companies marketing to college students?


Coffee is the number one item that students are willing to purchase on campus. Coffee sales account for around 20% of on campus food sales and the average college student spends around $100 a month on coffee. It makes sense that large companies would want to take up space on college campuses. Marketers have also found that not only do students go to coffee shops when they need to study but having coffee shops is another way that many students socialize. When thinking of the cafes on campus, this is also a way to create another space for students to study. Not only is coffee important for the students, but teachers need some energy too!

Here are some ways that companies try to market to students:

1. A lot of companies are finding new accessories to sell to students. One of the more popular items are freakers. Freakers are a one size fits all bottle insulator. They are customizable and made in the US. In the past couple of years, they have become a popular item for college students. More recently, they have been sold by Port City Java. You can find these beautiful bottle sweaters (as I like to call them) at a PCJ near you.

2. One of the biggest coffee competitors, Starbucks, is trying to find new ways to market towards college students. In the past couple of years, Starbucks has started to “roll out” coffee trucks on campus. This provides a more convenient way to reach students on campus…literally.


3. A couple years ago Dunkin’ Donuts changed the game, they gave us iced coffee drink sleeves. Iced coffee is a hot commodity with college students so this is the perfect accessory for walking around campus. Now you can enjoy your iced coffee in any weather!


So what’s your poison? Dunkin’, Port City Java, or Starbucks? Drink responsibly.

(images courtesy of giphy.com and fool.com)

-Sam Ruark


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 Memeful.com

-K. Layne Smith

Stay Fit Without Online Marketing Scams


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Everyone knows that once classes start, it’s not hard to fall into a pattern of eating unhealthy on-campus foods. You’ve been in classes all day, haven’t eaten since breakfast, and none of your classmates are answering the GroupMe about your upcoming project. The last thing you want to do is to go home and take the time to cook yourself a healthy meal. It’s understandable, we’ve all been there.

If you feel like you’ve fallen into this vicious cycle, and are on your way to gaining the not-so-freshman 15, don’t stress about it. Keep in mind this is totally normal, and there are several steps you can take to resist the temptations of mediocre pizza.

The first, most important thing to remember: Don’t fall for online fitness marketing.

If you have a Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, you’ve probably seen advertisements for products like Fit Tea or Flat Tummy Tea. These teas are often endorsed by celebrities such as the Kardashian family, fitness models, supermodels, etcetera. Most of the time these women are already in great shape, and probably don’t even drink the tea in the first place.


The companies claim that their products “detox” the body and “promote digestive health.” However, the components of the products are all generally natural ingredients that haven’t actually been proven to do any of those things. There are hundreds of products on the market like this: waist trainers, weight loss pills, detox drinks. They are all scams, save your money!!

Staying fit and healthy is super easy, and can be done by simply incorporating a few healthy habits into your lifestyle.

Bring a snack to class.

In my experience, most professors won’t mind if you have a bag of carrots sitting on your desk. This can really help you feel less hungry during your long days on campus!

Ditch the shuttle, bike or walk to class.

You can never tell if the shuttle will be on time, and we all know how scarce parking is on campus. Biking or walking is a great way to burn a few calories on the way to class.

Meal prep!

I know this sounds painful, and it definitely isn’t for everyone. However, I’ve found that I feel way less tempted by fast food if I make a few meals at a time and put them in my refrigerator to heat up later.

Completing these steps will help you feel better, look better, and save you from falling victim to an online marketing scam!

Photos from: fittea.org, flattummyco.com, instargam.com (@kimkardashian, @kourtneykardash).

-Shane Miller

Buy Local: 4 Ways to Support ILM


Over the past several years, towns and cities across the country have been encouraging their residents to keep their money local.  The goal is to support small, locally run businesses, which results in economic growth.  This initiative quickly spread to the Cape Fear region, and many residents took an interest.

Gayle Tabor, a local Wilmington resident, responded to this interest and began a group called Buy Local ilm.  The group uses social media such as Facebook and Twitter to spread the word about local businesses and share the latest news in the Wilmington area.  They even have an online newspaper to boost awareness.  With over 4,700 “likes” on Facebook and over 7,100 “followers” on Twitter, the initiative has grown quite the following.  Their campaign continues to gain traction.  Local businesses have also jumped on board, including the hashtag #buylocalilm in many of their social media posts as well as “shout outs” to other local spots.

Buying local isn’t always easy, especially if you are not familiar with the area.  To fix this issue, here are 4 suggestions to help you stay local:

1. Find your local farmers’ market or grocer. 


Start with baby steps, friends!  Wilmington has plenty of farmers’ markets and local options in nearly any part of town–the Riverwalk, Wrightsville Beach, and Poplar Grove to name a few.  During the warmer months, you can find an outdoor market almost every day of the week.  Not to mention, Port City Produce is open 7 days a week from April to October, and if you’re looking for a one-stop shop for healthy, organic options, Tidal Creek Co-op is a lifesaver.  Find your nearest market and begin there.  You’ll save money and support local residents… Win-win!

2.  Stay connected on social media.

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I know.  I know.  The last thing we all need is another reason to be glued to our phones, but let me explain.  Many local restaurants and shops use social media as their major form of marketing and self-promotion.   Facebook and Instagram are great places to find out about the best haunts in town and about any sales or giveaways.  If you’re looking for a place to start, search Wilmington’s official Instagram account (@cityofwilm) and take a peek at who they follow.  Spoiler alert: Most are local businesses.  Sometimes there is a good reason to pay attention to your phone.

3.  Skip the Starbucks.


Like I said before, start small.  Don’t get me wrong with this one.  I love a good Starbucks, but there are so many small coffee and/or tea spots in Wilmington.  You may think it’s only one cup of coffee, but those cups add up!  Next time you’re craving a caffeine fix, google your closest small coffee shop.  When all else fails, check social media. (See tip #2.)    Grab a cup of joe and work on that homework you’ve been avoiding.  *Local tip: SUNdays, Luna Caffe, Tama Tea, and Bespoke Coffee are all great options.

4.  Get out and explore! 

Sometimes you just have to get out there.  Social media is a great way to find out what’s out there, but you won’t know until you go out and try it.  Wilmington has so much to offer, and small, family-run businesses do very well here, which speaks to the loyalty of us Wilmingtonians.  On your next free day, I challenge you to find one new local spot that you haven’t yet tried.  Maybe it’s ice cream at Boombalatti’s or finding a local surf shop.  Whatever you choose, know you are supporting your community.

The moral of the story is this: Wilmington has heaps of excellent shops and restaurants, and they need our support.  Get connected, both online and offline.  It’s worth it.  What are some of your favorite ways to stay local?


– Morgan Garrett


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


The Top 5 Worst Hurricane Marketing Fails

One of the strongest hurricanes in recent history is headed for the East Coast. We can only hope that people don’t use Irma as a way of promoting their brand like marketers did during Hurricane Sandy. While some businesses prepared for the storm to ensure safety and survival, others used the storm as a marketing tool. Using a natural disaster as a marketing tool is not exactly the brightest idea and it certainly has its consequences. In 2012, businesses took advantage of Hurricane Sandy by using it as a reason to have a sale or to promote shopping their brand. Those sad attempts at marketing failed miserably. Here are the top 5 hurricane marketing fails during Hurricane Sandy:

  1.    American Apparel

First off, most people didn’t have power during the storm…so how were they even going to get on the internet to shop? I doubt many people saw this advertisement anyway because I am sure they were too busy ensuring their safety and survival. Second, how did this even seem like a good idea? Using a hurricane as a reason to have a sale was your first mistake but limiting it to the few states that were affected by the storm was the worst mistake of all. People affected by Sandy were trying to save their money for food, water and basic survival gear. A better idea would have been to donate a percentage of sales to those affected to help them get back on their feet.

  1.    Urban Outfitters

I don’t think I even have to explain this one… This was just wrong.

  1.    Jonathan Adler

So, if your thoughts are with all in the affected areas, why didn’t you offer your help to them instead of offering free shipping on your site. Worst of all, you tried to lighten the situation with some humor. “Storm our site.” Really? Very insensitive.

  1.    Sear’s

This was just careless, Sears. It could have been so easy to promote your brand. All you had to do was donate clothes or tools to those in need! I mean, something would have been better than nothing! You carry plenty of items that could have helped those affected, but you chose to tell people (with no way of getting to your stores) to come and get what they need instead of coming to them.

  1.    GAP

Okay, GAP. This is just a little inconsiderate. People were kind of in the middle of surviving a Category 3 hurricane and you’re asking them if they are going to indulge in some online shopping? Really? I have a feeling the brilliant person who came up with this idea may have faced some serious consequences.

Just a little tip for those of you with businesses…please don’t follow in their footsteps and make the same mistake they did. Learn from them and do something positive, like offering your help to those in need instead of trying to promote your brand.


-Emily Holt