By Josh Svetz, ’18
On Jan. 27, some of St. Bonaventure University’s brightest creatives faced off against other local schools at University at Buffalo in the third ever BrandHack competition.
A team from St. Bonaventure’s American Advertising Federation chapter went against University at Buffalo, Hilbert College and Daemen College to generate a branded campaign from scratch for a local non-profit organization in just under five hours with the help of professional designers. The campaigns were then judged by members of the American Advertising Federation of Buffalo. The St. Bonaventure team placed second in the competition.
This year, teams were tasked with creating a branding campaign for The Foundry, a non-profit organization in Buffalo offering rental spaces, business classes, workshops and connections to local businesses in the nearby community.
The members of St. Bonaventure’s team included senior journalism majors Emmy Kolbe, Marissa McCall and Haley Schrenk, and senior journalism and English double major Diana McElfresh.
All four are on the creative team for St. Bonaventure’s AAF chapter with Kolbe and McElfresh serving as copywriters, McCall as the art director and Schrenk as the creative director.
Schrenk, who competed in the competition last year, said she felt her team did excellent against the competition.
“We competed against schools that have actual graphic design and other art programs,” Schrenk said. “It’s a big confidence boost to know that we’re competitive against those students and create work that’s up to par if not better.”
Kolbe, who competed in the competition for the first time, noted the stress of creating icons, logos, posters and a presentation with a small team in a short time period.
“There’s no time to mess around,” Kolbe said. “The pressure’s on and if you’re not with the right group of people, it’s going to be hard to work through the stress. Luckily, I had three other talented and dedicated creatives by my side.”
Andrew Bevevino, a 2016 graduate of St. Bonaventure who is PR and social media director for Martin Group, helped organize the event.
In his opinion, St. Bonaventure measured up to the competition despite a lack of resources.
“Bonaventure doesn’t really have a graphic design program,” Bevevino said. “But the students who competed created a polished, professional product that impressed both the judges and The Foundry.”
One thing that impressed Bevevino was the presentation skills showcased by St. Bonaventure’s creative team.
“They were by far the best presenters,” Bevevino said. “The teams weren’t judged on their presentation skills, but the Bona’s students showed they could speak in front of industry pros with confidence and skill.”
Bevevino also mentioned that the winner, University at Buffalo, was able to create a full website, likely aiding in their first-place finish.
“If Bona’s had to lose to someone, I’d say the team they finished behind was a pretty good one,” Bevevino said.
Michael Jones-Kelley, a lecturer of strategic communication, integrated marketing communication and adviser to St. Bonaventure’s AAF chapter, said the creative team showed that Bona’s can compete with any school in advertising.
“All of the other schools that we competed against teach design, but we don’t,” Jones-Kelley said. “And yet, we still came in second. It’s just another example of the mouse that roared — St. Bonaventure.”
If you’re interested in learning more about advertising, PR or marketing visit https://aafbuffalo.com/ for updates on free networking and career development events connecting you with top-tier professionals and just maybe landing you your next job.
About the University: The nation’s first Franciscan university, we believe in the goodness of every person and in the ability of every person to do extraordinary things. St. Bonaventure University cultivates graduates who are confident and creative communicators, collaborative leaders and team members, and innovative problem solvers who are respectful of themselves, others, and the diverse world around them. Named the #5 best college value in the North by U.S. News and World Report, we are establishing pathways to internships, graduate schools and careers in the context of our renowned liberal arts tradition.
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