Imagewest celebrates official opening

Emily Gries

There was a buzz in the air along the third floor hallway of Mass Media and Technology Hall Wednesday morning.

Students rubbed elbows with businessmen as all waited egarly outside the door of room 333.

The group of about 50 people gathered for the ribbon-cutting ceremony for Imagewest, a new student-run advertising and public relations agency at Western.

Many Chamber of Commerce ambassadors attended to help kick off the program, which recently joined the chamber.

“I’m amazed at how many people came out,” Imagewest agency manager Heather Garcia said.

Imagewest has been in the works for several years but officially started this semester, she said.

The agency consists of five student interns. Four are advertising students and one is a public relations student.

“The internship is for credit, and there are opportunities for freelance work as well,” Garcia said.

Lawrenceburg senior Crystal Robinson, an advertising intern, said Imagewest attracts business from Western and outside companies. Imagewest has already worked on ads that will run in Canada, she said.

Imagewest has been working on internal promotions and spreading the word about the agency. Other services offered include graphic design, Web site design and printing of banners and posters for organizations on campus.

All revenue that is generated goes directly back into the program to cover equipment, scholarships and travel expenses.

Pam Johnson , director of the School of Journalism and Broadcasting, was anxious to see the agency open.

“I am a bodacious bragger,” Johnson said. “But I have a right to brag about this.”

Western is currently the only university in the country that has a joint advertising and public relations agency run by students.

“This program is helping Western to grow into national prominence,” President Gary Ransdell said.

Chamber of Commerce Chairman Rick Wilson said the experience gained at Imagewest will help narrow the gap between school and the job market.

“Imagewest provides a real world work setting for students where they can apply learning in the classroom into real world knowledge,” Wilson said.

Prospect senior Megan Burch, an advertising intern, has been with Imagewest before it even started. Burch said the agency has helped her build her portfolio.

“I’ve had interviews and portfolio screenings and hope to have a job as a graphic designer when I graduate in May,” Burch said.

Reach Emily Gries at [email protected]