Students use skills, techniques learned from business course to market chapel to college community

April 3, 2014, Written by Breann Inglesby, Communications intern

Students in professor Karen Buehlmaier’s Marketing and Communications class are putting their learning to work marketing the college’s chapel service this semester. An attempt to raise attendance at the weekly chapel service by attracting fellow students and members of the community, this class project is a result of Buehlmaier’s desire to interface Christian faith with her business classes.

“Students would ask me, ‘is this a private or Christian college?’” Buehlmaier said, “I began wondering what I was doing to bring Christianity to class.”

Buehlmaier met with Campus Pastor Erik Samuelson to discuss what they could do. Together they came up with the idea to use Buehlmaier’s class to “market” chapel, a weekly worship service at the college that has very inconsistent attendance depending on the week.

“One of my visions is to see more students interested in chapel.” Samuelson said. 

Buehlmaier’s marketing class was split into three groups, and each group was assigned a third of the semester during which to market chapel. The students came up with ways to advertise with print, social media and guerilla marketing techniques in order to send word out to students and the community.

Teams are given class time to meet and plan one to two times per week. During this time, teams discuss ideas and plan their strategies. The creativity of the students can be seen in the scores of different posters hung throughout the college every week and the imaginative promotional videos sent to the student body via email.

“Everyone brings a diverse viewpoint to the table,” said junior Emmanuel Contreras, a student in Buehlmaier’s course and a member of the first group. “I like that, I think it’s pretty cool.”

Samuelson said, “One of the biggest concepts of Trinity’s Living-Learning model is that college is not just about what you learn in your classrooms. Students receive real world experience in a safe place, while being critiqued in a positive way. We want what you do here to apply to the rest of the world and this project is an excellent example of that.”

“The process has been really fun,” said senior Shey Thommasen, “We get to work toward something our school stands for and see the results. Whether it works or not it’s been a good experience.”

While the students have been working hard in their teams, a consistent increase in chapel attendance has yet to be achieved. However the chapel teams stay positive, focusing on their upcoming projects for the second half of the semester.

Buehlmaier boasted about the creativity and enthusiasm she had already seen from her students.

“I feel so blessed to have such great students,” Buehlmaier said. “A lot of what they bring to the table really comes from their strong faith and belief in themselves and what they’ve learned from other classes.”