What better way to dive into the world of business than to take on a marketing challenge direct from Nike—and in high school no less.
This past July a group of high school seniors from the Eugene-Springfield area had the chance to do just that. The students were participants in the University of Oregon's Summer Academy to Inspire Learning, more commonly known by its acronym SAIL.
Since 2005, SAIL has brought eighth- through twelfth-graders to the UO's Eugene campus to attend free, weeklong, academic, summer camps led by volunteer faculty. The program aims to inspire students to pursue higher education by making college accessible to students from low-income families.
This summer marked the Lundquist College’s first participation in SAIL. Michele Henney, program manager of the Finance and Securities Analysis Center, spearheaded the college’s participation.
“When we started planning the SAIL week, we knew we wanted to give the students hands-on experience,” said Henney.
Another SAIL organizer, senior instructor and program manager for the Warsaw Sports Marketing Center Whitney Wagoner, brought the Nike project into the mix.
Nike had contacted Wagoner looking for students to provide input on the next phase of Designed to Move, an initiative that aims to create a lifelong commitment to staying active by increasing physical play and sport activities in children age ten and younger.
On day one of the program, Nike’s Lindsay Martinez and Suzanne Davies came to campus to introduce the case. The SAIL participants were charged with coming up with ways that high school students like themselves could influence middle graders to make physical activity part of their daily lives.
During the next few days, the students developed their strategies and presentations. They also got crash courses in the basics of marketing, budgeting, financial literacy, cyber security, and decision sciences.
The following Friday, the Nike representatives returned to campus to hear final presentations from the student teams and award Nike gift cards to the student participants.
“It was fun to see the SAIL students going from blank slates to presenting some really comprehensive, thorough presentations to actual Nike representatives. That’s an experience that even a lot of college students don’t have,” said business major Mike Holland, a Lundquist College Honors Program student who was one of three undergraduates that helped out during the SAIL week.
Plans are already taking shape for next year. "We will definitely do it again," said Henney. "And we'd love to work with a company again."