“It was wonderful to see the students meet Yulia, and hear first-hand how Bridges 2030 has positively impacted her life and her 2-year-old daughter’s life since fleeing the war in Ukraine,” wrote Assistant Professor of Instruction and Diamond Edge Communications (DEC) Faculty Director Stacey Harpster, KLN ’99, FOX ’01, (she/her).
DEC, Temple University’s student-run advertising agency, is made up of advertising students across all concentrations who want to gain experience working with real clients. This year, one of DEC’s clients is Bridges 2030, a local nonprofit that originally began as a way to support the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development put forth by the United Nations.
Since its founding, though, Bridges 2030 has gotten involved in supporting refugees from the Middle East, and more recently from Ukraine as many families and individuals have arrived in Philadelphia since February 2022.
At the beginning of the fall 2022 semester, six DEC students were assigned to work with Bridges 2030 and its founder Fernando Ramirez (he/him). Specifically, Ramirez wanted help rebuilding the Bridges 2030 website and improving the visibility of his messaging.
After meeting with Ramirez, the students got to work and prioritized creating empathy above all else in their goals for the organization. It was important to not just rely on statistics, but rather the stories of the refugees Bridges 2030 supports.
Harpster and Ramirez met at a community gathering to hear the stories of two women who walked 450 miles from Kiev, Ukraine to Warsaw, Poland and continued spending time together helping other refugees. The pair thought it would be beneficial for the students working on the account to meet and interview Yulia Bihun, a Ukrainian woman who came to Philadelphia with her 2-year-old daughter in the spring of 2022.
“Meeting with Yulia made our work have more purpose,” said Account Director for the Bridges 2030 DEC account Isaac Schein (he/him). After the students met with Bihun and some saw her speak at The Fox School of Business, they felt as if they were better prepared to help Bridges 2030 spread their message encouraging education and empathy for the crisis in Ukraine.
Schein is grateful for the client relations and delegation skills he was able to practice while also helping make a difference.
Copywriters on the account Sehin Lawrence (she/her) and Jake Strong (he/him) agree with Schein about the experience. Strong noted that working with a client like Bridges 2030 made him reevaluate how much he takes for granted in his day-to-day life. In addition to helping Bridges 2030 educate other people, he was able to educate himself along the way.
Lawrence is proud of the work she and her peers have done on the account. Her work curating written material for the Bridges 2030 social media accounts and creating a new volunteer system encouraged her to continue advocacy work after she graduates, and she recently interviewed for a position in the digital department at a political nonprofit in Washington.
Harpster noted the importance of having clients with social impact missions and is glad to have given students the opportunity to see how they can use their advertising skills and talent to promote good in the world.
Ramirez is thankful for the support from DEC and Harpster. “It’s important for us to improve our message, improve our website, and that’s what DEC did for us. It was a magnificent effort,” he said.