Experiential Learning for Students and Alumni Posted on January 18th, 2023 by

Each semester students in Cathy Harm’s Marketing Class complete a semester-long group project. Students have the opportunity to work with alumni-connected companies and non-profit organizations to help solve marketing challenges. 


This allows students to apply what they are currently learning in class and apply it in real-life situations. Students also gain experience in teamwork, project management, and consulting. Throughout this 9-week project students and clients meet regularly to discuss their progress with the project. At the end of the semester, students have a final presentation and create a comprehensive report. 


This past Fall semester students worked with a variety of companies and challenges. 


Culver’s Bloomington

  • One group had the unique challenge to work with a franchised fast food company.   This specific loc
    ation had the goal of increasing the number of families that dine at their location.  


Digital Commerce Alliance

  • This business association is re-inventing themselves.  Prior to Covid, their unique value was in-person conferences and networking.  The project allowed for brainstorming with Dan Currell.  The students worked on identifying some new members to target and process improvement to gain members.


John Kellen Photography

  • John Kellen Photography was created as a place for John Kellen to share his beautiful nature photography. Students had the opportunity to assist John in creating a new website and creating a social media plan to sell his photos. 

Brainerd General Rental

  • Brainerd General Rental is an established rental company located in Brainerd, MN. Students worked with Steve Mau to identify a new target market for the 30-year-old business.  They worked on creating a buyer journey to guide marketing strategies for their company. The goal was to appeal to young home owners working on DIY projects. 

Continuous Growth Pathways

  • Is a non-profit that helps ELCA pastors in Southwest MN. The goal of their project was to diversify their funding to include donors. Students worked on a plan to gain donors and designed a flyer that can be used in churches. Grady St. Dennis was the alum that worked with the students.


  • Farmamerica is a local non-profit organization located in Waseca, MN. The mission for Farmamerica is to connect Minnesotans to the evolving story of agriculture through hands-on educational experiences, partnerships, and community engagement. Their project challenged the students to evaluate whether gamification would help attract a younger audience ages 16 – 24.  

Epilepsy Foundation of MN 

  • The Epilepsy Foundation of Minnesota offers services for people with epilepsy and seizures across Minnesota and eastern North Dakota. The mission of their programs is to educate, connect, and empower individuals and families throughout their epilepsy journey. The students worked with Brooks Anderson  to grow their clothing donation efforts by identifying joint initiatives with other non-profits that could receive a percentage of the proceeds from a clothing drive.

These projects not only offer an experiential learning experience for students but for the client as well. This a great cost-free way for Gustavus Alumni to improve their company or organization’s current marketing challenges.

Interested in learning more about signing up for a Marketing Project? Check out the application. https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScGW0Og4OsSwhp6EZAON357z9gt2PJEXpILc3hyyN8ut1-Wgw/viewform


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