By Tate Luckey
Last week, the University of Louisville announced the launch of The Bird’s Nest, a student-led marketing agency under the direction of Dr. Karen Freberg. She and four student directors- Sydney Baker, Hailee Andrews, Zaire Robinson, and Jacey Wells- are gearing up to offer a variety of services to the general public, including brand strategy, event consultation and logo design.
“Creating a student agency has been a dream of mine ever since I came to U of L back in 2011. Things started coming together when Joey Wagner, Al Futrell, and I met in 2019 to discuss the next steps. At the time, Neeli Bendapudi gave us the green light – and she helped us get connected to Kansas where she helped them start their own student agency,” Freberg said.
Since then, support from both College of Arts and Sciences Dean David Owen and Interim President Lori Gonzalez has helped pave the way for this unique opportunity for the University of Louisville community.
How It Works
Sophomore Jacey Wells, director of outreach, told The Louisville Cardinal staff Freberg will train, teach, and certify the current directors so they are prepared for the spring.
There is a suggested curriculum and courses for students to take if they want to pursue certain areas in the agency, like social media in the Department of Communication. That is now a Strategic Communications and Social Media Minor.
The Bird’s Nest differs from other student agencies at other schools that limit the opportunity to join to just a specific college or program.
“We are unique in building a modern-day approach for the agency to foster the new wave of talent for the strategic communication industry,” Freberg said. “Our teams and roles are aligned with the industry, but the organizational structure is different where we have directors of shell teams. All aspects of the agency have been implemented and are led by students.”
For example, Wells and her team are comprised of ambassadors, influencers, event coordinators, and advisors who facilitate communication and planning regarding outside sources’ needs for client work.
Helping Prepare Tomorrow’s Consultants
There will be an application process for both internal and external clients, providing students the ability to determine the timing, resources, and budget for the project. The goal of the services is to not only pay students for their work, but also raise funds for scholarships, renovation of the new space, conference trips, professional development, and certifications.
“I think it’ll benefit Louisville students a lot. When people are starting college and don’t have any idea what to pursue, this could be a good way to gain hands-on experience,” Wells said. “I hope that we can help college students more become well-rounded students. When they graduate and enter the career field they’ll just have so much more applicable skills and knowledge.”
Businesses and brands from Louisville and across the country comprise the student agency’s board of advisors, including Churchill Downs, Starbucks, Brown-Forman, adidas, and U of L Athletics. Currently, a director of research and director of people role is still available.
Photo Courtesy // The Birds Nest //