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  Campus Beat LogoA group of students, each smiling and dressed professionally, gather in a hallway in City Hall after presenting their ad campaign to Mayor Gavin Newsom.

Working for a Good Grade and a Good Cause

Could an ad campaign help San Francisco's homeless? Mayor Gavin Newsom is giving it a try. His "ad agency" of choice: a group of students at SF State.

The mayor's office served as the latest client for students enrolled in a Marketing/Broadcast and Electronic Communication Arts community service-learning course. The assignment: Create public service announcements aimed at recruiting volunteers for Project Homeless Connect, a one-stop shop that delivers health and human services to homeless San Franciscans.

Students worked in three competing teams. Each team included marketing majors, who conducted research and developed a creative brief; radio and television majors, who shot videotape and recorded radio announcements; and design and industry majors, who created
corresponding print ads.

At the end of the spring semester, students presented their ads to the mayor and his staff at City Hall. Afterward, Newsom told the class, "We're honored and thankful." He added that each team captured the spirit of the program "in a very meaningful and touching way."

The winning team's ad, soon to air on radio and television, pointed out what could be accomplished during a single day of volunteer work for Project Homeless Connect: providing shelter and meals for 1,000 people. The message: "It's so easy to look the other way; I never thought it was so easy to help."

In addition to completing the community service involved with the class assignment, many students have reportedly become Project Homeless Connect volunteers themselves.

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