An Exciting Collaboration

This Fall, Center of Life is collaborating with Slippery Rock University to create an exciting new marketing campaign for the fourth annual Hazelwood Family Festival. Dr. Allison Peiritsch, a professor at SRU’s Communication Department invited Center of Life to be a client for the senior capstone course, Public Relations and Integrated Communications Campaign. All students in the PR and IMC Campaigns course are public relations and marketing communication majors. This class requires them to integrate the work they’ve done throughout their academic career into a single campaign for a real-world client. 


On 5th September, Baylie McGrady, our Marketing and Communications Coordinator, and Neil Martin, the Business and Compliance Manager, visited SRU. They met with the team of senior communication majors that would be working with COL. Each student has a specific role in the group. Rachel Smith will be the project coordinator, Alayna Scalio is the analyst, Jack Reeves is the media producer, McKenna Ash is the writer, and Jack Whitehurst is the presenter. The students will spend the first part of the semester conducting research and building a proposal for the marketing campaign. This will then be presented to the client in October. The next two months will be spent building the campaign and writing the material with a final presentation and submission of materials in December. It is then, the organization’s task to implement the campaign when needed.

Baylieis a graduate of Slippery Rock University and worked on her senior capstone project under Dr. Peiritsch in the same course last academic year. Her group created a recruitment campaign for Butler Township’s volunteer Fire Service. It was one of the most important, and fun, experiences of her college career. “From a student perspective, this is a great project!” said Baylie. “From a COL mission standpoint, it’s an opportunity for us to help them grow as students and as professionals. That’s what we do—give people chances and the tools to do new things.” “It is humbling that Dr. Pieritsch would reach out to Center of Life to work with her students.” Neil added.

The team of students from SRU will be working on a marketing campaign for COL’s Hazelwood Family Festival. This event caters to all-ages and brings entertainment, food, and resources to the community for free. It is an opportunity for us to showcase our programs and the amazing work done by the kids, teachers and volunteers. It also helps Hazelwood community learn about other non-profits and groups that provide the resources they deserve. In the past, HFF has been a platform for Uber’s autonomous cars, the Community Kitchen, Three Rivers Village School, Planned Parenthood, Arts Excursions Unlimited, and the Jewish Healthcare Foundation, to name a few.

This project is particularly exciting for COL, as the SRU students bring fresh eyes to the endeavor. “They’re in the same place as the people we are trying to reach—those who don’t know us yet. And I’m very excited to see what they come up with from an outsider perspective.” Baylie said. Looking to the future, we at COL hope that this collaboration will plant a seed for continued partnership with SRU and its students. A successful campaign will help HFF have an exponential impact in increasing city residents’ awareness, and in connecting people-serving organizations with the community’s needs. Together, we can make the Hazelwood Family Festival a staple among the experiences Pittsburgh has to offer!

-Arista Engineer

Center of Life