One College of Business student organization has found a unique way to apply the skills learned in the classroom with a service to the community. Opal Agency, a 45 member student-run advertising agency, describes their group as a service-based organization. Their goal is to donate their time to local businesses or non-profits that may not be able to afford hiring a traditional advertising agency. “On top of serving local organizations, we are also very passionate about spreading awareness of global issues,” states Opal Founder and CEO, Alyssa Eggleston. “Our top priority will always be our members and their futures. As Opal is so unique, this is a great opportunity for students to gain a competitive advantage over their peers across the country.” Each semester the group divides itself into teams to work on individual campaigns as needed. One team works with a local client, while the other team works on a global issues campaign. This semester they are working with Andy’s Foundation and African Fair Trade.
For Andy’s Foundation, a local nonprofit, Opal members are executing a brand identity and awareness campaign. “We began working on a full brand identity for this not-for-profit organization last fall and we are now executing those plans,” mentions Bryan Burke, Opal’s Chief Creative Officer. Andy’s Foundation was started by MSU graduate student Drew Rogers in 2010 with a goal of teaching individuals how to build a computer from start to finish while building confidence and creating a résumé. Rogers first implemented the courses at the Rare Breed, a program for underserved 13-21 year olds. The program has recently expanded to the Greene County Juvenile Justice Center and Central High School. So far Opal has been instrumental in designing the brand identity and establishing a social media presence for this foundation. They also created a curriculum book which will give anyone the tools they need to teach the program. The curriculum book is the key to potential expansion for Andy’s Foundation.
Another team of Opal members spent the Fall semester conducting research and determining the creative strategy for an African Fair Trade campaign. “Our objectives are to create a more positive global perception of Africa and to promote international fair trade,” explains Alyssa. This is a unique undertaking for Opal as they were not hired by a specific company or client; the inspiration for this campaign came from members within the agency. Opal wants to use this campaign to fight the damage done by the overall negative perception of Africa’s conditions and to educate the Springfield population about how to make more informed consumer decisions. “You may be surprised at how many businesses there are in Springfield that provide fair trade items at reasonable costs such as Anna Sophia’s, Askinosie Chocolate, Coffee Ethic, Dillon’s and many more,” mentions Opal Account Planner, Abbey Phillips.
This African Fair Trade team was divided into two groups for the research and strategy development. During finals week, the groups presented their research and proposed strategies to Dr. William Donoher, Management Department Head, Dr. Michelle Granger, Professor of Management, and the 10 members of Opal’s Board of Directors. Both groups had unique and interesting ideas, which will be combined for the creative execution. The campaign will be launched in Spring 2014.
As the students of Opal Agency continue to advance their skills and donate their time to the community, we in the College look forward to their upcoming projects. Many members of Opal are majoring in business, but this is not required. Students with an interest in Opal Agency should contact Alyssa Eggleston, Founder and CEO, at Alyssa311@live.missouristate.edu for more information.
For more information on Andy’s Foundation visit http://about.me/AndysFoundation