The Marketing 380 class at the University of Nevada, Reno, taught by Judy Strauss, associate professor in the College of Business, is not the typical business class. Students are laughing, sharing ideas and creating videos. To Strauss, gone are the days of all work and no fun.
Strauss said the class is about applying Internet marketing techniques in three areas: personal branding, marketing a business and building awareness for non-profit organization. Strauss wants students to learn about blogging, Google AdWords and connecting with the community and it's customers, but also demonstrate that business can be fun by incorporating personal brand showcase videos, student-run classes and a flash mob into her curriculum.
"The flash mob is all about building awareness for a non-profit and to show the students that philanthropic work is very important in business," Strauss said. "The flash mob is the final for the class. They are having a blast organizing, talking and orchestrating everything through a Facebook group online."
For the students who were studying and cramming for finals at 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 7 in the Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center, they were in for a big surprise. The students in Marketing 380 have known since the beginning of spring semester that they were going to dance a "surprise" flash mob for all the students to see.
"Really, it is to produce something that goes viral and promote a non-profit," said Michelle Golightly, a 24-year-old senior majoring in marketing. "In our case, it was Think Kindness, an organization with such a warm and meaningful mission."
Beyond enjoying the creativity the class afforded her, Golightly said the class was about homing in on the content you need in order for it to move online. She said it was about learning how to engage with consumers by talking with, not at them.
Brian Williams, president and founder of Think Kindness, a non-profit with the mission of inspiring measurable acts of kindness in schools and communities, was excited to have his local non-profit represented during the flash mob.
"The cool part about the flash mob is it really highlights and promotes kindness and bringing it to the forefront during a rather stressful time on campus," Williams said. "I want to inspire someone to make a difference. You never know who is having a hard day, so giving them a simple kind note, like the students are doing during the dance, and it can turn their whole day around."