PR Start by Nick Lucido

How to start in the public relations industry.

Forgetting Part of Your Audience? Forget You!

Living in East Lansing for around two and a half years, I have always sensed a bit of tension between the people who “live” in East Lansing and the students who are “just here.” It’s true that most students are here temporarily, but that doesn’t mean we should be ignored. img_2605

I just finished reading through the city of East Lansing’s publication “A Community in Focus.” East Lansing has a lot of cool things going on, community events were a success, diversity is supported, etc. However, I never saw the word “student” in a city where around half of the residents are students.

According to a quick check on Wikipedia, the city has a population of around 46,000 people and is best known as the home of Michigan State University. MSU has a student population of more than 42,000. So, it’s just about equal. But why does the city consistenly ignore a key component of their audience? One thing is for sure – it’s a big communication problem that is dividing the two segments more and more.

I will say that it’s probably, at times, difficult to live in a college town. Sometimes, parties get too out of hand. Sometimes, riots happen. And sometimes, we make a mess. I think the biggest problem is that students don’t realize we live in a community with residents who don’t live the same lifestyle as us.

I think the city should look into reaching out to the MSU community. Considering it is virtually non-existent right now, the city can learn a lot from students who actually care about where they live. It’s also important to consider the following:

  • We’re on Twitter, Facebook and we blog
  • We spend $12 million in your community
  • We take unpaid internships at non-profits and local companies that often times help out your organizations and your community
  • We volunteer and help our neighbors

We are important in the community, so please acknowledge that. See what we’re saying about you and then talk to us. If we learn more about you, and if we learn the rules early, chances are we’re more likely to follow the rules. If you listen to us, we’ll listen to you.

Furthermore, with the brain drain that’s occurring in the state of Michigan, you would think this community and the rest of Michigan would be more willing to listen to and engage students. It seems as though that’s not the case.

Sorry East Lansing, but it seems as though you are out of focus on this one.

What are your thoughts on the situation? Students and East Lansing locals, what has your experience been with the city? And for those of you not here, how can you maximize the potential for audience?

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Filed under: Uncategorized

3 Responses

  1. I really agree Nick. There definitely seems to be some sort of issue here, no matter what campus you’re referring to. That’s why whenever I volunteer in the Mount Pleasant community, I try to wear something CMU as a friendly reminder that students do more than just go to school here.

  2. Ari Adler says:

    This is nothing new Nick. I attended MSU from 1985-1989 and one of our biggest complaints back then was that the city of East Lansing felt we were parasites rather than the entire reason the city exists!

    The idea that they are reaching out to the students because there’s a glorified book club is laughable.

    Until the city of East Lansing acknowledges that without MSU they’d be nothing but a subdivision inside the city of Lansing, you’ll never get anywhere.

    Pride comes before the fall and E.L. is full of it. Pride, I mean… 😉

  3. Jenni Lewis says:

    Maybe this is something we need to talk with Hubbell Connections’ new client about. The relationship between MSU and East Lansing doesn’t have to be one-sided any more…

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