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From left to right: Mark Waters, Ric Tombelli, Matt Schlientz, Bryan Springer, and Emily Stack Davis Hannah Cote | Col­legian

New videos, Instagram posts, and adver­tise­ments clearly show that Hillsdale College has hit a new mar­keting stride in recent years. What’s behind this change?

The Hillsdale Mar­keting Department has been buzzing with new social media out­reach and adver­tising ideas, painting the campus with a fresh face while pre­serving the original and irre­placeable mission of the college.

Matt Schlientz, vice pres­ident of mar­keting, framed the mission of the department as a part­nership with the entire college.

“The purpose of the mar­keting department is to help radiate the mission of the college to audi­ences across the country through mul­tiple mediums and to bring the college to life through strategic and cre­ative content that inspires action,” Schlientz said.

This mission statement out­lines the mar­keting department’s strategy to project the mission of the college through every media platform that they use, while also aiming to inspire action rather than simply pro­viding a one-time expe­rience with Hillsdale. The department, however, would not be able to provide this content without their direct media team.

The cre­ative director for Schlientz’s team is Bryan Springer. Springer started in June 2019, but he isn’t new to the college. Springer spent ten years in the art department as a graphic design pro­fessor and works with the cre­ative part of pro­duction. 

Next is Emily Stack Davis ’05, asso­ciate director of media and com­mu­ni­ca­tions. Stack Davis orga­nizes press release inter­views and pro­vides a thorough media rela­tions and public com­mu­ni­ca­tions strategy while “always advancing the mission of the college,” according to Schlientz.

Ric Tombelli, director of digital mar­keting, also recently started with the mar­keting department in July 2019. Tombelli manages digital and social outlook for the college.

Finally, Mark Waters, director of visual media, joined the team back in November 2019, pro­viding new cre­ative vision in the department of visual out­reach.

The move from print to digital media out­reach has greatly affected the entire department since it began in 2014. In the past six months alone, the mar­keting department pro­duced dozens of new YouTube videos, including a five-video series titled “Con­quering Freshman Year” that fea­tures infor­ma­tional videos on health, aca­demic, and career ser­vices. The series also includes ani­mated videos high­lighting critical aspects of Hillsdale’s mission, such as the freshman pledge, the core cur­riculum, and the liberal arts. The team even created a high­lights video of the Honor Code and its influence on campus culture.

“We were and still are great at print,” Schlientz said. “We’ve been doing Imprimis for 45-plus years as one example. But we need to com­pliment that print with visual media, and when we say visual media, we mean visual sto­ry­telling, not just making a video. We are trying to connect with people emo­tionally through visual video.”

As director of visual media, Waters said that the goal of every video “is not to promote the college, but to teach a prin­ciple that the college stands for.”

“I always hope that we teach some­thing that people feel a benefit from when engaging in a video,” Waters said. “I hope they learned some­thing they didn’t know before and that they feel like what they learned was worth some­thing.”

Several stu­dents work alongside the media team within the mar­keting department. Sophomore Vic­toria Nuñez has worked with the department for nearly two years. 

“The vision has remained the same in the department,” Nuñez said. “Our main goal is to just implement the mission of the college in all the various forms of media we use.” 

Sophomore Jane O’Connor has worked with video pro­duction in the department for almost a year. 

“Interns are fairly involved in the cre­ative and pro­duction aspects of content cre­ation,” O’Connor said. “I haven’t felt much of my job is con­cerned with busy work. I help out a lot with the pre-pro­duction and pro­duction stages of our video work.” 

With each project, Schlientz stresses the ultimate mission and goal of the college.

“We want the country to know about the mission of Hillsdale College,” Waters said. “Part of our vision and part of our mission is to save the country. We want pos­itive atti­tudes to be formed because gen­erally you need pos­itive atti­tudes to lead to action, and we’re looking for action.”

This need for action fuels the department’s con­sistent out­reach, and they hope to con­tin­u­ously reach out and impact the com­munity.

“We don’t just want a one-time expe­rience or action. We actually want mul­tiple actions and we want lifetime raving fans of college,” Schlientz said. 

Through new addi­tions to the team, increased activity on social media, and new ideas for eye-catching videos, Schlientz and his team aim to bring Hillsdale’s tra­di­tions and culture to life. 

“The mission of Hillsdale still hasn’t changed since 1844,” Schlientz said. “The purpose has remained the same from the beginning. We’re just artic­u­lating it better than ever.”