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ISSUE 120 VOL 13 PUBLISHED 3/2/2007

Departments honored

By Matthew Simenstad
Contributing Writer

Friday, March 2, 2007

While it may not get very much attention from students on campus, the St. Olaf Marketing and Communications Department has been receiving high recognition off campus. At the 22nd annual Admissions Advertising Awards, “Get in the Game!,” a viewbook advertising sports at St. Olaf to prospective students and a series of magazine advertisements, won gold medals for their “excellence in production standards, creativity, and professionalism in the field of admissions marketing and advertising,” according to a statement on the St. Olaf website.

In addition to these awards the St. Olaf Magazine won three gold medals from the Minnesota Magazines and Publications Association for Best Feature Article, Best Use of Visuals and Photography, and Best Overall Design for various issues published throughout last year. The magazine also won a bronze medal for Overall Excellence.

“We are really focusing our efforts on behalf of the College,” said Amy Gage, director of communications. “Our work is being recognized.”

The 44-page “Get in the Game!” viewbook boasts an accessible and aesthetically pleasing layout, providing information about St. Olaf athletics for prospective students. “Our goal in general is to enlarge people’s perceptions of St. Olaf,” Gage said.

In order to ensure that the department is appealing to its target audience, it creates focus groups and tests the viewbook and other publications with parents and students to gauge the viewbook’s reception. “We have become more sophisticated at what we do,” Gage said.

The products produced by the department reflect this, as they help admissions and advancement by placing students and alumni at the center of attention.

“This is the newsroom of campus,” Gage said of Skifter Hall, where the communications and marketing department is located. “We tell the stories. We couldn’t do what we do without the students.”

Carole Engblom, editor of St. Olaf Magazine, echoes these sentiments. “Our main goal is to tell the St. Olaf story.” Engblom became the editor of the St. Olaf Magazine when she came to St. Olaf in 1999. Since then she has taken a 48-page black and white publication and made it into an award-winning color magazine.

“We want to give people a good read, no matter who they are or where they are in life,” she said. To do this, Engblom asked herself, as a self-proclaimed magazine addict, “What would I like to read in a magazine?”and “What are the strengths of St. Olaf?”

This focus has yielded award winning articles like “Love Your Neighbor,” which chronicled student experiences on Ole Spring Relief last year. Engblom asked the students before they left if they could keep a running journal during their week long stay in New Orleans, where they went to help with Hurricane Katrina relief projects. “It was awesome,” she said of the journals the students turned in. “The pictures blew me away.”

The communications-marketing department is instrumental in managing the College’s identity and is responsible for presenting this image to potential students and donors. “We have a very talented team here,” Gage said. As they continue to improve on their already successful print publications, Gage explained that they are “increasingly looking to the website” as well.

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