​RWU’s American Advertising Federation Helps Students See 'What’s Out There'

RWU's chapter serves as a student-led resource for helping students succeed after graduation

Students from the Advertising Club in Boston.
On trips, such as this one to Havas Worldwide in Boston, RWU’s American Advertising Federation chapter exposes members to what it would be like to work at both large and small marketing or advertising firms.
Juan Siliezar

BRISTOL, R.I. – As courses, internships and other university resources give students the skills and experience they need to secure positions when they graduate, one club on campus is focused on helping students decide the types of work environments that will be best for them, and on connecting them with alumni and professionals.

Led by seniors Gabrielle Ciarleglio and Acacia Longley, RWU’s American Advertising Federation chapter exposes members to what it would be like to work at both large and small marketing or advertising firms, and focuses on networking with professionals in those fields. It does this by visiting companies, bringing guest speakers who work in the field to campus and by assembling panels of RWU graduates.

The hope is for members to get a clearer sense of what they want in a marketing career and then use that information to make the best possible decision on the types of internships they should try or the type of company they should look for in their career search.

“It’s kind of like visiting schools,” said Longley, vice president of the club’s five-member executive board. The exposure students get, she says, can solidify a decision one way or the other.

Ciarleglio, the club’s president, added, “Our goal is to help get everyone a well-rounded view – especially if you haven’t had an internship. We want to see as much as we can and learn as much as we can from the companies we visit and the professionals and alumni who come here to speak.”

Last year, the club visited marketing firms (add)ventures in Providence and toured Boston-based sports apparel giant 47 Brand. This year, the club is visiting the Providence Bruins, and advertising agencies DigitasLBI and Havas Worldwide in Boston. Ciarleglio and Longley completed summer internships at DigitasLBI and Havas Worldwide respectively (Ciarleglio in DigitasLBI's New York office).

The visits are especially useful in helping students see the options that are out there, says club member Lindsay Janeczek ’20. Last year, after seeing the casual and fun work environment at 47 Brand, the sophomore left the tour knowing she wants to work in a similar type of office setting.

Longley and Ciarleglio also see the club as a resource that gives members an idea of what life will be like after graduation. It's why the club taps the RWU alumni community and established professionals as guest speakers.

Last year, the club hosted a panel of recent graduates to speak with club members on their experience of finding and settling into their first jobs out of college.

“It’s nice getting advice from them,” Longley said. “They just went through it.”

Zoe Siegal ’17 felt similarly after listening to the story of one of the club’s most recent speakers: David Sorkin, principal and strategic marketing director at New Frontier, a full-service advertising agency he created. Sorkin graduated from Emory University with an undergraduate degree in history, but eventually his career turned to marketing and advertising. Siegal says it's comforting to know that life after graduation isn’t always a straight line – sometimes there are turns.

The model Ciarleglio and Longley have established has been catching on as word on the club has spread. Last year, the RWU AAF Chapter had only a handful of active members. Now they have over 30.

The RWU AAF Club is open to students of all majors, but its focus is on the marketing and advertising career field. Ciarleglio and Longley took on leadership of the club at the beginning of last year. It meets every other Monday at 7pm in GSB 217 (subject to change). The next meeting is November 27. RWU Assistant Professor of Marketing Geraldo Matos advises the club. To learn more contact Gabrielle Ciarleglio at gciarleglio301@g.rwu.edu or AAF@g.rwu.edu.