Assistant professor and students host UW-Eau Claire Grandparents University
On June 20, 2009, CJ faculty member Dr. Jeanie Geurink and
30 students in her event planning course brought Grandparents
University to the UW-Eau Claire campus for the first time. Seventy participants—grandparents
and their grandchildren between 8 and 12 years of age, attended a day of fun
classes taught by UW-Eau Claire faculty. The program was available to any child and
an adult in their life.
Geurink brought the program to UW-Eau Claire after participating in a similar event several times at UW-Madison. “Because of my passion for it, I wanted to have Grandparents University at UW-Eau Claire,” she said. Geurink worked with Phil Huelsbeck of UW-Extension/Continuing Education to develop the program.
The event also offered students in CJ 491, Event Planning, an opportunity to gain hands-on experience in the many elements necessary to plan and execute a successful event. The students created the logo, press kits, and publicity, and secured sponsors to provide funding for a binder of summer activities for grandparents and grandchildren. Geurink required each of her students to submit work for a logo, promotional flyer and materials for a media kit. The class voted on the top three designs after viewing them as anonymous works on a PowerPoint slide show.
Students found the experience to be valuable as they prepare for careers in advertising, public relations and organizational communication. Senior public relations and history major Jill Janke said creating the media kit was helpful for her, as it was a way to use skills she learned in many of her public relations classes. “It was fun, as a public relations major to take what I learned and put it toward a real event,” she said.
Huelsbeck visited with the students several times during the planning process. “It has been the icing on the cake to work with the students,” he said. “They are in earnest. They want to do this right.”
Geurink was very pleased with the capacity attendance, and with the success of the event. “If the smiles and applause that echoed the campus after a group photograph was taken is an indication of success, this event will be around for many years to come,” she said.