Strategic communication students operate real-world marketing firm

It is often difficult for full-time students to find relevant experience before graduation, but one student-operated organization is changing that for student media.

In 2015, Student Media Director Barbara Allen created Orange House, an entirely student-operated marketing and communications firm. Allen saw the opportunities The O’Colly provided to journalism students over the years and wanted to equip more SMSC students with relevant work experience, as well. Its main purpose is to provide work for strategic communications and graphic design students that may parallel tasks in future careers.

Ashleigh Rauner, an account executive for Orange House since 2016, describes the firm as a versatile solution for all types of businesses.

“Our tagline, ‘all your marketing needs under one roof,’ defines all that Orange House entails: to provide individually-tailored creative advertising and marketing solutions to our clients,” Rauner said.

Orange House employees are challenged to seek out and maintain real clients while presenting design samples as marketing solutions. As an organization with a variety of clients, the employees take on different tasks each day. They are constantly challenged with changing schedules and clientele but strive to make everything a learning experience.

“One of the biggest challenges at Orange House is seeking out new clients,” Rauner said. “It adds a whole element of prospection to our daily work schedules, which can be hard to find time for as students. Mirroring our schedules with our clients’ schedules and available time to meet with us can be challenging, too.”

Orange House Director Kaydee King credits much of her readiness for life after graduation to her experience as an employee of the agency.

“Orange House has benefited me a lot,” King said. “I’ve learned more here than I have in the classroom because I can do a project and make up a client in a class, but it’s not the same thing as having to do something for a client and what they like. It’s really a huge learning experience.”

King enjoys many things about Orange House, but one aspect stands out the most.

“I would have to say my favorite part is the team aspect,” King said. “We all contribute, and it’s really fun working on a team. Even though I’m in charge, I’d say that it’s a group effort.”

In addition to gaining experience to prepare them for employment after graduation, the work of Orange House employees has provided more benefits and recognition to those involved. As a 2-year-old firm, Allen hopes to see Orange House flourish and for people to become more aware of the services offered.

“What I would really love to see is Orange House continue to grow and to really serve the community,” Allen said. “I want to see it marketed better so that everybody knows it’s here.”

Orange House continues to be a source not only for marketing and communications solutions for businesses but also a source for real-world experience and valuable opportunities for students.