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Student project helps volunteer animal welfare group


One of the marketing materials created by the students.
In winter term 2017, Nipissing’s Biidaaban Community Service-Learning program facilitated a volunteer opportunity connecting the School of Business’ Marketing stream with a Toronto-based animal welfare organization, Cat Lake Friends of Animush, in a successful initiative.

Cat Lake Friends of Animush: Humane Northern Animal Welfare is a not-for-profit organization whose goal is to promote a safe and healthy environment for residents and their companion animals in isolated First Nation communities. They provide animal welfare education, spay and neuter services, deworming and vaccinations for pets. The organization is composed of volunteer animal lovers, technicians and veterinarians who donate their time to travel and provide these services in fly-in First Nation communities in Northern Ontario and beyond. The organization’s volunteers are invited to do this beneficial work by approval of each community’s respective First Nations’ Council.

Through community voice, a need for a new marketing strategy for Cat Lake Friends of Animush was identified. A relationship was formed between Cat Lake Friends of Animush, Biidaaban Community Service-Learning, and Nipissing Marketing professor, Dr. Anahit Armenakyan.

The third year Social Marketing course was tasked with developing marketing strategies to strengthen Cat Lake Friends of Animush’s relationships with First Nation communities in order to better promote their services and expand their reach.

Ontario Human Rights Commissioner, Maurice Switzer and Elder John Sawyer provided ongoing support and recommendations to help the class gain a greater understanding of Indigenous perspectives.

Students Tyler Black, Patrick Fitz-Gerald, Nathaniel Griepsma, Ethan Henstra, Anna Jakobs, Tyler Marjo, Stephen Nikiforuk, and Jordon Staroba presented their marketing plans and promotional material to Dr. Michael Belovich of Cat Lake Friends of Animush via Skype in early April. Dr. Belovich was pleased with the strategies presented began to implement  the class’ recommendations this summer.

Biidaaban Community Service-Learning (BCSL) is a unique experiential learning program in the Office of Indigenous Initiatives at Nipissing University. It focuses on partnerships with faculty and community organizations where students are offered the opportunity to apply classroom theory to real world experiences. When a need is identified by the community, the program matches students’ interests and skills to start a placement or project.

Dr. Armenakyan has an impressive background in research, exploring different areas of consumer behaviour including but not limited to the impact of social marketing on smoking cessation, the effects of country image on sport mega-events (Olympics), adolescents’ influence on parental purchasing decision-making process, and the effects of country-of-origin on perception of different products.​ 
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