PULLMAN, Wash. — Two universities, one company and 40 college students this spring are sharing one goal: education.

“A unique partnership between one of the world’s largest corporations — General Motors — and seniors at Washington State University and Gonzaga University is providing a ‘real-world’ marketing internship experience while the students are still on campus,” says David Sprott, WSU assistant professor of marketing. He is also the faculty adviser to the GM Marketing Internships at WSU.

“These four-month-long internships expose students to just about every aspect of a marketing campaign. They work on event planning, advertising, public and media relations, budgeting, accounting and more,” Sprott says. This is the fourth year WSU students and Sprott have participated in a GMMI experience.

“My experience in GMMI has been a true test of real-world experience. The program has given me the opportunities to learn, while I am still in school, about what I will be doing once I graduate,” says student Kishia Agee of Spokane, advertising coordinator for the WSU internship group.

The WSU and Gonzaga students are teamed with local auto dealers for the semester and use their marketing skills to raise public awareness of GM products. The local dealers are Chipman and Taylor Chevrolet-Oldsmobile in Pullman and George Gee Pontiac/GMC in Liberty Lake. The dealers contribute funding and serve as the students’ “clients” throughout the internship.

Both the Gonzaga and WSU student groups have spent long hours planning a fun-filled, April event at their respective campuses to culminate their GM awareness-raising campaigns.

From 9 a.m.-3 p.m. April 18 on WSU’s Glenn Terrell Mall, the marketers will stage for Cougars a contest to end their “Road Trip…What’s Your Destination?” campaign. Participants will visit several cars parked on the mall and loaned from Chipman and Taylor for the day to gain information for the contest.

“Our marketing group, which we named ‘Perpetual Motion,’ will be selling raffle tickets to students, faculty, staff and community members in the weeks leading to the event,” says WSU GMMI philanthropy coordinator Kristin Shaff of Everett. Raffle proceeds will be given to the United Way of Pullman.

Also, the winner of a write-in “Best Road Trip Story” online contest will be named at the WSU event.

In the weeks between their events and the end of the semester, GU and WSU GMMI students will prepare a comprehensive report, including expenditure and effectiveness analyses, and make a summary presentation to executives from their local auto dealer clients.

More than 200 colleges and universities in Washington, Idaho, Oregon, Utah, California, Nevada, Texas, Georgia, Florida, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Michigan have participated in the GMMI program since it began in 1991. The WSU and Gonzaga marketing groups will be eligible to compete for up to $10,000 in GMMI scholastic achievement award money. A national $3,000 award will be given to the top four-year university and the top two-year community college participating in the program.

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