Industry Clients Call, Media Savvy Students Answer

April 13, 2015

NYIT's student-run advertising and public relations agency, Carleton Group, celebrates its 25-year anniversary this year. The group leads creative initiatives for clients in New York.

"When we started in 1990, our students were doing paste ups and layouts and print ads," says John Hanc, associate professor of communication arts, and the Carleton Group's faculty advisor most of the years since its inception. "Now they create Facebook pages and designs for apps and websites."

Spring 2015 projects include designing branded merchandise for the Long Island Ducks baseball team, launching a social media awareness campaign for Nassau County Museum of Art (NCMA), and creating print materials such as invitations for an annual awards dinner hosted by the nonprofit organization PeerPals. Carleton Group students are communication arts majors who are also enrolled in a for-credit capstone course that eschews the traditional classroom for a professional creative agency setting.

"NYIT's Carleton Group capstone is one of the best classes I've taken," says junior Erica Brandt, who is editor-in-chief of The Campus Slate and serves as the account executive or team leader for the NCMA project. "It provides real-life work experiences between clients and the students. I've gained so much knowledge without even realizing it, just by working on deadline and seeing how my ideas have a serious impact on a business."

The Department of Communication Arts also offers the Production Company (ProdCo) and Globesville capstone courses modeled on immersing students in real-world media environments. Sometimes their projects overlap. For example, ProdCo students are shooting a video for Carleton Group to feature as part of the NCMA campaign.

"NYIT enters into relationships with professional clients that intend to use the student work," says Julie Price (M.A. '00), adjunct instructor of communication arts and current acting faculty advisor to Carleton Group. "Students learn to listen to what the client wants and accept criticism. They also learn how to share ideas in a group, negotiate for their ideas, and compromise when necessary. These are all important workforce skills."

The group's longest-running client is the Long Island Ducks. Over the years, students have designed the team's logo, fliers, stadium signage, parking lot banners, and yearbook ads and articles. This semester senior Brendan McLaughlin serves as the Ducks' account executive.

"Because of my experience in Carleton Group, I've interned as a publicist for a well-known television news correspondent and as a public relations coordinator for Slightly Mad ad agency," says McLaughlin. "The agency recently offered me a full-time paid position. Thanks to Carleton Group, my career dreams are becoming an incredible reality."