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Campus Life  

UBC students present options to make local communities healthier

Third-year marketing students, from left, Marc Qian, Brendan Sprague, Kira McDougall, and Kevin Chan researched the car share option and came up with a marketing plan for OGO Car Share Co-op. Their project is part of the Healthy City Partnership signed between UBC Okanagan, the City of Kelowna, and the Interior Health Authority.

Third-year marketing students, from left, Marc Qian, Brendan Sprague, Kira McDougall, and Kevin Chan researched the car share option and came up with a marketing plan for OGO Car Share Co-op. Their project is part of the Healthy City Partnership signed between UBC Okanagan, the City of Kelowna, and the Interior Health Authority.

Third-year marketing class creates campaigns for municipalities and organizations

Management students at UBC’s Okanagan campus are learning first-hand what makes a community healthy, sustainable, and a good place to live. They’re also learning how to market their ideas.

A semester-long project sent third-year students around the central Okanagan, working with 17 different community partners, where they were tasked to devise and promote projects that can make the region more liveable.

“Our growing communities are currently faced with a series of seemingly diverse developmental concerns, which affect community well-being and the social sustainability of our residents,” says Eric Li, assistant professor of marketing.

The students will present their marketing campaigns for the 17 partner organizations on Thursday, November 20 in the Engineering, Management and Education Building at UBC Okanagan. The event is open to the public and runs from 3 to 5 p.m. Participating community partners, students, and UBC faculty will be on hand for the unveiling of the campaigns.

In Kelowna’s 2013 Official Community Plan, residents expressed a desire for a more sustainable region. Some key concerns: affordable housing; healthy and safe living environment; food security; sustainable energy resources; a better transportation system and infrastructure; as well as enhanced community wellbeing.

“The key purpose of this project is to expose our students to regional development issues,” says Li. “The students are working with community partners to develop a promotion plan for a campaign that will address challenges residents in the Central Okanagan region face. The result should be marketing ideas that will promote healthy living in the Okanagan and surrounding areas.”

Organizations involved include all municipalities in the Central Okanagan, stretching as far as Lumby and Princeton, along with the Interior Health Authority, Lake Country Health Planning Society, and a number of local organizations such as Okanagan Car Sharing, Dads in Gear, and the Central Okanagan Development Commission.

Students have been working with OGO Car Share to help increase awareness about the car co-op program. Management student Brendan Sprague says the project initially seemed daunting, but as they became more involved, the students realized they could have fun with the project and try out their newly-acquired marketing know-how.

“Working with Okanagan Car Share has been a great experience to apply textbook material to a real-life situation,” says Sprague. “Okanagan Car Share allows users to not rely on their personal vehicles, and they still have an efficient option to run every-day errands. Because of this, we believe it promotes a healthy community.”

Li says the experiential learning program has been supported by the Okanagan Living Lab of the Faculty of Management and the Okanagan Sustainability Institute at UBC’s Okanagan campus. This project is part of the Healthy City Partnership signed between UBC Okanagan, the City of Kelowna, and the Interior Health Authority last month.

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