CFVFD collaborates with students for marketing campaign

January 11, 2019 GMT

Eight Lone Star College-CyFair students will have their original designs on display across Cy-Fair in an effort to recruit more citizens to join the local fire department.

Cy-Fair Volunteer Fire Department partnered with LSC-CyFair students in the ARTC Design Communications II class to create marketing campaigns for ongoing recruitment efforts. While CFVFD received diverse, original marketing material for recruiting more volunteers, students received work experience for their final project.

David Padovan, public information officer for CFVFD, said he approached LSC-CyFair with the idea after recalling a similar project he had in a marketing class. After presenting the idea to LSC-CyFair officials, the idea came to fruition at the end of the 2018 fall semester. The department also has the files so they can use them for future advertisement.

“We wanted to make sure that we were getting what we needed out of it but the students were able to meet certain criteria that they needed to based on the syllabus,” he said. “This is going to allow us to constantly have that same recruitment message out there but it’s always going to pop because it’s always something different.”

The projects students submitted will be used by the fire department in the form of posters, handbills, billboards and more, Padovan said. Each student will also receive a letter from Fire Chief Amy Ramon detailing how each campaign was used in recruitment efforts for their portfolio.

Padovan and Professor Julie Wells, the class instructor, collaborated to make sure students were able to create their own campaign with little direction in order to use their skills, he said. Padovan met with the students to discuss the fire department as a whole in order to give them potential ideas, rather than giving them strict guidelines.

Students also visited Station 11 for research in the form of conversations with firefighters to gain ideas and take of photos of equipment for visuals.

Professor Julie Wells gave the students the assignment and said the project went well overall, and was an opportunity to give students a realistic work experience.

“It’s more like the real world because your client’s not going to tell you exactly what to do,” she said. “That, in and of itself, doing a service learning project like that, is one of the biggest benefits. They truly understand all the stuff we tell them all the time.”

Students used meme references, photo manipulation and other skills learned in class to focus on different demographics of potential volunteers including veterans and businessmen. Padovan said the diversity is great for the department and their ongoing recruitment.

“There’s no such thing as having too many volunteers,” he said. “This is a message that we constantly want out there whether it’s just social media, whether it’s in print, whether we want to do billboards or the handbills that we hand out at PR events.”

For the spring semester, Wells hopes to incorporate the project into the curriculum once again with a class of 13. She said other departments are looking to collaborate with CFVFD for more projects, including online training for volunteers.

Wells said she never had a collaborative project with another entity go this well before. Both parties said they are excited to work with each other in the near future.

“For a project like this to really work, the client has to be willing and available to put in some time as well,” she said. “And David was. I think that’s one of the reasons it was as successful as it was the first time doing it.”