With a campaign built on the creative concepts of “Experience the Difference” and “Great Places to Grow,” the team from Concordia University Ann Arbor earned third place in the Lutheran Church Extension Fund (LCEF) National Student Marketing Competition April 4 in St. Louis, Mo. This was the University’s first time participating in the competition, which began in 2012.

Members of the team were: Emily Bearman, a sophomore from Ypsilanti, Mich.; Robert Duff, a junior from Croswell, Mich.; Paula Popa, a senior from Saline, Mich.; and Aaron Zalewski, a senior from Toledo, Ohio. The team was led by faculty advisor Ann Glubzinski.

The team competed against seven other Concordia University System schools, working throughout the spring semester to develop a cooperative marketing plan for a partnership between LCEF and The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LCMS) elementary and secondary schools. Each Concordia team traveled to St. Louis to present their final work to a judging panel selected by LCEF in polished 20-minute presentations of their strategic plans, creative work and budgets.

“Participating in the LCEF Student Marketing Competition was an excellent experience for my student team,” Glubzinski said. “The team was exposed to a real-word marketing situation. They had to utilize their knowledge of marketing and apply critical thinking, problem solving and decision-making skills to develop a realistic solution, while staying within budget constraints provided by LCEF. I cannot think of a better opportunity for my student team to gain relevant marketing experience, which mirrors what they could experience in their post-graduation careers. It was so exciting for the team to be recognized for their innovative solution.”

Concordia University St. Paul in Minn. took top honors, with Concordia University Irvine in Calif. placing second.

“This year’s assignment focused on how LCEF might work with elementary and secondary schools to help increase enrollment,” said Richard C. Robertson, LCEF President/CEO. “Our ultimate goal is to boost the sustainability of our Lutherans schools, which we see as an effective mission offering to communities.”

The other participating universities included: Concordia University Chicago, River Forest, Ill.; Concordia College New York, Bronxville; Concordia University Nebraska, Seward; Concordia University Portland, Ore.; and Concordia University Wisconsin, Mequon.

LCEF presented cash prizes ranging from a $5,000 first-place award to $750 participation prizes.