Making Meaningful Connections with CCEL

Written by Monica Couvillion, Communications Coordinator with CCEL

Hello and welcome back to all Marist students and faculty following spring break! My name is Monica Couvillion, and I’m a senior public relations student at Marist and currently working as the Communications Coordinator for our communications team here at the Center. I wanted to use this blog post to talk about my role and how I came to CCEL as a public relations student.

In addition to my work as a Communications Coordinator, I am also the acting Firm Director of North Road Communications, Marist College’s student-run public relations agency that provides public relations services to nonprofits here in the Hudson Valley. Working with the firm has been an incredibly rewarding experience, particularly because of it’s ties with the local community. It has given me the opportunity to connect with the surrounding community outside of Marist and utilize the skills I’ve learned in the classroom in a “real world” setting before graduating. In the spring of 2015, our firm was

Monica Couvillion (pictured left) and other North Road Communications representatives volunteering with client Meals on Wheels after partnership facilitated by CCEL (photo courtesy of Meals on Wheels of Greater Hyde Park)

representing four clients and saw an opportunity to expand. We were hoping to take on new clients after expanding our size and range of abilities. Our process to find local Hudson Valley nonprofits to represent could not have begun without the Center. Director Melissa Gaeke worked with us to connect with local nonprofits that were in need of public relations assistance and helped us administer a call for participation. We received eight submissions from contacts with the Center and were able to identify two new clients to partner with for the fall. The Greater Hyde Park chapter of Meals on Wheels and the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Mid-Hudson Affiliate were added to our client roster and have been absolutely wonderful clients to work with. North Road Communications has been able to provide Meals on Wheels with media outreach, volunteering assistance and fundraising initiatives for multiple campaigns and the firm has worked with NAMI on a website redesign, media relations and campaign planning. The assistance provided to these organizations would not have been possible without the resourcefulness and relationships fostered within the Center for Civic Engagement.

Today, I am working as the Communications Coordinator with the Center after my experience partnering CCEL with North Road Communications as well as participating in a CBL course in Campaign Management with Faculty Fellow Jennie Donohue. My past experience with the Center showed me that it would be an excellent place to work as both a student and a public relations professional. As the Communications Coordinator, I have been working to promote the Center across various Marist platforms. Our entire communications team has been organizing blog posts, collecting faculty testimonials and designing our new WordPress along with planning a special event to showcase just how impactful the work at CCEL is to the entire Hudson Valley community. I am incredibly proud to be working with this organization and can speak firsthand just how important the connections between Marist and the local area are to students, faculty and our community partners.

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