The Annual Cherry Tree Young Writers’ Conference July 18 and 19

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The Cherry Tree Young Writers’ Conference, which invites high school students to Washington College to work with esteemed writers, will feature readings on July 18 and 19 highlighting the conference’s faculty. On July 18, James Allen Hall, conference director and director of the Rose O’Neill Literary House, will join poet Jehanne Dubrow in a reading, while H.G. Carrillo and Julie Marie Wade will read on July 19. Both events, held at the Lit House, begin at 7 p.m. and are free and open to the public.

Jehanne Dubrow was born in Italy and grew up in Yugoslavia, Zaire, Poland, Belgium, Austria, and the United States. She is the author of six poetry collections, including most recently Dots & Dashes (Southern Illinois University Press, 2017), winner of the Crab Orchard Series Open Competition Award, The Arranged Marriage (University of New Mexico Press, 2015), Red Army Red (Northwestern University Press, 2012), and Stateside (Northwestern University Press, 2010). She is a co-editor of the anthologies The Book of Scented Things: 100 Contemporary Poems about Perfume and Still Life with Poem: Contemporary Natures Mortes in Verse (Literary House Press, 2014 and 2016). Her poems, essays, and book reviews have appeared in The Southern ReviewNew England ReviewThe Hudson ReviewPleiades, and Virginia Quarterly Review. She is an associate professor of creative writing at the University of North Texas.

Top: Jehanne Dubrow and James Allen Hall; Bottom: H.G. Carrillo and Julie Marie Wade

James Allen Hall is an associate professor of English at Washington College, where he also serves as director of the Rose O’Neill Literary House. His book of lyric personal essays, I Liked You Better Before I Knew You So Well, won Cleveland State University Poetry Center’s Essay Collection Award. Also a poet, Hall is the recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York Foundation of the Arts, the University of Arizona Poetry Center, and others. His first book of poems, Now You’re the Enemy (University of Arkansas Press, 2008), won awards from the Lambda Literary Foundation, the Texas Institute of Letters, and the Fellowship of Southern Writers. His work has appeared in Best American Poetry 2012A Public SpaceThe American Poetry ReviewBoston ReviewNew England ReviewStory QuarterlyBennington Review, and in other national literary magazines and journals.

H.G. Carrillo is the author of Loosing My Espanish, a novel. His short stories have appeared in Kenyon ReviewConjunctionsThe Iowa ReviewGlimmer TrainNinth LetterSlice and other journals and publications. He is the 2018 Writer in Residence for The Kratz Center for Creative Writing at Goucher College, and sits on the executive board of directors of the PEN/Faulkner Foundation.

Julie Marie Wade is the author of ten collections of poetry and prose, including Wishbone: A Memoir in Fractures, Small Fires, When I Was Straight, Catechism: A Love Story, and SIX. Her newest collections are Same-Sexy Marriage: Poems (A Midsummer Night’s Press, 2018) and The Unrhymables: Collaborations in Prose (Wild Patience Books, 2018), co-authored with Denise Duhamel. Wade teaches in the creative writing program at Florida International University and reviews regularly for Lambda Literary Review and The Rumpus. She is married to Angie Griffin and lives on Hollywood Beach.

For more information on this and other events, view our annual Literary Events Calendar brochure here: www.washcoll.edu/live/files/7406-2017-2018. The 2018-19 brochure is forthcoming this summer. For more information on the Literary House, visit www.washcoll.edu/centers/lithouse/.

For more information on the Cherry Tree Young Writers’ Conference, visit www.washcoll.edu/centers/lithouse/programs/the-cherry-tree-young-writers-conference/.

The High & Wides at the Riverfront Concert Series July 26

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Back by popular demand,the legendary High & Wides rock the stage at the Riverfront Concert series on Thursday, July 26.  Hosted by the Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience at Washington College, the final 2018 riverfront concert is free and open to the public. The program begins at 6:30 p.m. on the lawn of the Custom House at 101 S. Water Street, Chestertown.

We invite you to bring friends and family (all ages are welcome), a picnic, and your own chairs or blanket. Or just relax on the grass and partake of free lemonade and cookies. Either way, come and enjoy the energetic sounds of this innovative band recently described by the Washington Post as “apostles of hillbilly boogie.”

The High & Wides, like the large-haul trains for which the band is named, project a big, driving sound—mountain musical traditions re-imagined for a new century. Formed on Maryland’s Eastern Shore in 2015, the band makes music about arson and hourly motels, dystopian love songs, and ballads of violent history. The High & Wides draw from members’ extensive backgrounds in bluegrass and take the music to a place all their own, recalling an era when old-time, rockabilly, and proto-rock’n’roll coexisted in a murky soup of hillbilly string band music. The High & Wides include Marc Dykeman (guitar and vocals), Sam Guthridge (banjo, mandolin and vocals), Nate Grower (fiddle), and Mike Buccino (upright bass). Their new album, titled Lifted, was released this spring to popular acclaim.

The Starr Center’s riverfront concerts — a summer tradition for the past eight years — present American music in all its breadth and diversity, with performers in a variety of genres from across the region and beyond. As part of each event, Starr Center program manager Michael Buckley, who is also a longtime radio host on WRNR-FM, leads a Q&A with the visiting artists.

For more information, visit starrcenter.washcoll.edu or contact Michael Buckley, mbuckley3@washcoll.edu, 410-810-7156. In case of rain, the concert will take place in Hynson Pavilion, Wilmer Park.  Special support for the summer concert series is provided by Yerkes Construction and Washington College Student Events Board.

About Washington College

Founded in 1782, Washington College is the tenth oldest college in the nation and the first chartered under the new Republic. It enrolls approximately 1,450 undergraduates from more than 35 states and a dozen nations. With an emphasis on hands-on, experiential learning in the arts and sciences, and more than 40 multidisciplinary areas of study, the College is home to nationally recognized academic centers in the environment, history, and writing. Learn more at washcoll.edu.

Riverfront Concert Series Features Ultrafaux with Danny Knicely July 12

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The Baltimore-based musical sensation Ultrafaux, with special guest Danny Knicely, takes the stage at the Riverfront Concert series on Thursday, July 12.  Hosted by the Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience at Washington College, the concert is free and open to the public. The program begins at 6:30 p.m.

We invite you to bring friends and family (all ages are welcome), a picnic, and your own chairs or blanket. Or just relax on the lawn of the Custom House (101 S. Water Street, Chestertown) and partake of free lemonade and cookies. Either way, come and enjoy an eclectic mix of bebop, funk, and gypsy folk.

The Starr Center’s riverfront concerts — a summer tradition for the past eight years — present American music in all its breadth and diversity, with performers in a variety of genres from across the region and beyond. As part of each event, Starr Center program manager Michael Buckley, who is also a longtime radio host on WRNR-FM, leads a Q&A with the visiting artists.

Ultrafaux is an acoustic powerhouse of two guitars and upright bass that has thrilled audiences at festivals and concert halls worldwide since the release of its first CD in 2014. The group performs original music inspired by Django Reinhardt, jazz manouche, gypsy folk, swing, funk, blues, and French musette. Lead guitarists Michael Joseph Harris and Sami Arefin trade dazzling leads and harmonize together on rich melodies. A composer and the founding guitarist of Ultrafaux and Hot Club of Baltimore, Harris was named one of the top ten local artists by Baltimore Style magazine.

At this year’s Riverfront Concert Series, Ultrafaux welcomes master mandolinist Danny Knicely. Coming from a family steeped in a bluegrass and mountain music tradition, Knicely has performed on four continents, including U.S. State Department tours in Tunisia, Morocco, and Russia.

Special support for the summer concert series is provided by Yerkes Construction and Washington College Student Events Board. The final event in this year’s Riverfront Concert Series lineup, featuring the popular bluegrass group the High &Wides, will take place Thursday, July 26.

For more information, visit starrcenter.washcoll.edu or contact Michael Buckley, mbuckley3@washcoll.edu, 410-810-7156. In case of rain, the concert will take place in Hynson Pavilion, Wilmer Park.

About Washington College

Founded in 1782, Washington College is the tenth oldest college in the nation and the first chartered under the new Republic. It enrolls approximately 1,450 undergraduates from more than 35 states and a dozen nations. With an emphasis on hands-on, experiential learning in the arts and sciences, and more than 40 multidisciplinary areas of study, the College is home to nationally recognized academic centers in the environment, history, and writing. Learn more at washcoll.edu.

WC Environmental Science Students Embark on Collaborative Groundwater Study

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Most people think of sea level rise as something visible, but in Rebecca Fox’s field methods in environmental science class at Washington College, students have begun long-term research into an invisible potential effect—saltwater intrusion into agricultural fields on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. And, they’re collaborating with students from the University of Maryland, learning what it’s like to work with fellow researchers who aren’t even in the same county, let alone on the same campus.

Fox, assistant professor of environmental science and studies, came up with the idea with her friend and collaborator Kate Tully, assistant professor of agroecology at UMD’s Department of Plant Science & Landscape Architecture. To jump-start the project, the pair applied for and received funding through MADE CLEAR, which is funded through the National Science Foundation’s Climate Change Education Project.

Fox used her portion ($5,000) to establish a permanent research station on a farm on the lower Chester River, where she and students installed eight groundwater wells equipped with instruments that can gather a variety of data about the groundwater.

“The data loggers collect information every 15 minutes to half an hour, data on groundwater temperature, how high the groundwater is, and the salinity of the groundwater,” Fox says. “We’re hoping we can use this data that will be collected over the next five to ten years to monitor whether saltwater is intruding into the farm fields. The goal is to bring our classes together every fall to the farm to do this research project and to look at the data… And we’ll have this long-term dataset so we can do some analyses, and there’s no reason we can’t use it for research and publish it.”

Ben Nelson ’18, an environmental science major and biology minor, was among the WC students who worked on the project last fall.

“We can look at the data and see what is going on over time, because that’s what is important,” he says. “Looking at things short-term is great, but we have to look at the bigger picture, and this research opportunity allows us to see what’s going to occur over time. We’re going to have to mitigate these issues or adapt to these changes.”

Last fall, the two groups of students met once at the site, where they spoke with the landowner about changes he has seen already, and examined how the groundwater wells work. Though looking at the same data, the classes are approaching the research from slightly different perspectives. The UMD agroecology students are focused on agriculture and food production, but also on soil health and the entire agricultural system, while the WC students, with their focus in environmental science, are thinking more broadly and about other aspects than just traditional agriculture.

“The intention is to get the students together, get them to talk, get them to look at this data, and then at the end of the class we have them come up with a plan to produce collaborative podcasts,” Fox says. “Half the podcast team was at College Park, half the team was here, and they had to figure out how to put a podcast together from different locations. So much science is collaborative, and you aren’t always in the same location as the people you’re working with. The hope was that the students would get this experience of remote collaboration and see how different it is when you have to cooperate remotely, and how clearly you have to communicate.”

Nelson says this real-world collaboration was one of the trickiest but most valuable parts of the project.

“These are people who are over an hour away, and this is when we rely on technology to communicate. And that was good practice,” he says. “It really made you plan and consider others… In the beginning when we first started communications with them we were a little bit hesitant on both ends…. But as we progressed through the project I think we realized the only way we were going to get this done is to learn and adapt.

“We could interact with people of different backgrounds and further expand our collaborative skills,” he says. “This will definitely be helpful in the workplace, because you don’t just work with the same five people every day.”

In the upcoming year, the WC students will also have the opportunity to travel to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Beltsville Agricultural Research Center, where Tully’s side of the research is examining how different cover crops can sequester carbon dioxide.

“For that lab, instead of coming here and looking at saltwater intrusion, we’re going to look at the ability of cover crops to mitigate climate change,” Fox says. “They have all of these long- term experimental plots where they’re trying different types of cover crops, and so it’s very much more an agricultural perspective, but it’s looking at how we can diversify our crops to maybe make a difference in terms of how much carbon dioxide we’re putting into the atmosphere.”

About Washington College

Founded in 1782, Washington College is the tenth oldest college in the nation and the first chartered under the new Republic. It enrolls approximately 1,450 undergraduates from more than 35 states and a dozen nations. With an emphasis on hands-on, experiential learning in the arts and sciences, and more than 40 multidisciplinary areas of study, the College is home to nationally recognized academic centers in the environment, history, and writing. Learn more at washcoll.edu.

WC’s Riverfront Concert Series Kicks Off on June 28 With Sombarkin’

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Sombarkin’

Slip into summer with Washington College’s Riverfront Concert Series, which this year kicks off with Sombarkin’, the acclaimed a capella gospel, blues and jazz trio, who will open the Thursday evening series on June 28 at 6:30 p.m. Produced by the Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience, the free concerts take place at the Custom House lawn on the corner of High and Water streets in Chestertown. Bring your own picnic, (free cookies and lemonade provided!) blankets, and chairs; rally your friends, family, and neighbors, and get ready to tap your feet, clap your hands, sing along, dance, or just sit back and enjoy.

Featuring jazz, gospel, bluegrass, rockabilly, and more, the 2018 Riverfront Concert Series powerfully demonstrates the appeal and versatility of the grassroots music that arose from city streets, juke joints, mountain hollows, and African American churches across America. At each performance, Starr Center program manager and concert series host Michael Buckley will provide some cultural context, interview the artists, and invite questions from the audience. A 20-year veteran of the music world, Buckley’s eclectic weekly radio program on Annapolis-based WRNR, 103.1 FM, includes the popular interview series “Voices of the Chesapeake Bay.”

The full concert schedule is as follows:

Joe Holt

Thursday, June 28, 2018 – Sombarkin’
The award-winning trio Sombarkin’—Karen Somerville, Lester Barrett, Jr., and Jerome McKinney—use the skill of vocal instrumentation and harmony to deliver an explosive performance of African American spirituals, map (code) songs, folk, gospel, blues, and jazz. Their polyphonic technique is reminiscent of the old-time camp meetings, yet they also deliver a contemporary soulful sound with surprising jazz licks and blues bends. Theirs is a transforming gospel crafted to impress the ear with the quality of an ensemble greater in number than three. Sombarkin’ will be joined by Joe Holt, the inspirational classical and jazz pianist whose performances reflect the influence of both worlds, and the joy in the moment. Hailing from Kent County, Sombarkin’s versatility has brought them into collaboration with an impressive list of renowned artists from New York’s Broadway and beyond, particularly their acclaimed performance in Red Devil Moon—an original musical based on the 1923 literary classic Cane—at the 2016 NYC Fringe Festival.

Thursday, July 12, 2018 – Ultrafaux, with special guest Danny Knicely
Ultrafaux is an acoustic powerhouse of two guitars and upright bass that has thrilled audiences at festivals and concert halls worldwide since the release of their first CD in 2014. Ultrafaux performs original music inspired by Django Reinhardt, jazz manouche, be-bop, gypsy folk, swing, funk, blues, and French musette. Lead guitarists Michael Joseph Harris and Sami Arefin trade dazzling leads and harmonize together on rich gypsy-inspired melodies. Ultrafaux and Hot Club of Baltimore founding guitarist and composer Michael Joseph Harris was named one of the top 10 artists in Baltimore by Baltimore Style Magazine. The band often includes top guest artists and for their debut performance at this year’s Riverfront Concert Series, Ultrafaux welcomes master mandolinist Danny Knicely. Steeped in a mountain music tradition, Knicely has shared his roots in old-time and bluegrass music throughout four continents, including U.S. State Department tours in Tunisia, Morocco, and Russia. Knicely displays his virtuosity performing on mandolin, guitar and violin.

Thursday, July 26, 2018 – The High & Wides
The High & Wides, like the large-haul trains for which the band is named, project a big, driving sound—mountain musical traditions re-imagined for a new century. Formed on Maryland’s Eastern Shore in 2015, they write music about arson and hourly motels, dystopian love songs, and ballads of violent history. The High & Wides draw from their members’ extensive backgrounds in bluegrass and take the music to a place all their own, recalling an era when old-time, rockabilly, and proto-rock’n’roll coexisted in a murky soup of hillbilly string band music. The High & Wides include Marc Dykeman (guitar and vocals), Sam Guthridge (banjo, mandolin and vocals), Nate Grower (fiddle), and Mike Buccino (upright bass). Their new album, titled Lifted, was released this spring.

For more information, visit starrcenter.washcoll.edu or contact Michael Buckley at 410-810-7156.Additional concerts sponsored by the Kent County Arts Council take place every other Saturday evening beginning June 10, from 7-8:30 pm at Chestertown’s Fountain Park.

About Washington College
Founded in 1782, Washington College is the tenth oldest college in the nation and the first chartered under the new Republic. It enrolls approximately 1,450 undergraduates from more than 35 states and a dozen nations. With an emphasis on hands-on, experiential learning in the arts and sciences, and more than 40 multidisciplinary areas of study, the College is home to nationally recognized academic centers in the environment, history, and writing. Learn more at washcoll.edu.

The Summer Literary Salon on June 19

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The Rose O’Neill Literary House’s Summer Literary Salon will feature readings by H.G. Carrillo, David MacLean, Lynn Melnick, and the Literary House’s 2018 Cave Canem Fellow, Lauren Russell, as well as music from The Pam Ortiz Band. This free, public event on June 19, starting at 4:30, will be followed by a book signing and light refreshments.

H.G. Carrillo

H.G. Carrillo is the author of Loosing My Espanish, a novel. His short stories have appeared in Kenyon Review, Conjunctions, The Iowa Review, Glimmer Train, Ninth Letter, Slice and other journals and publications. He is the 2018 Writer in Residence for The Kratz Center for Creative Writing at Goucher College, and sits on the executive board of directors of The PEN/Faulkner Foundation.

David Stuart MacLean is a PEN/American award-winning essayist. His essays and stories have been featured in The New York Times, The Guardian UK, Newsweek, Ploughshares, GuernicaThe Bennington Review, Quarterly West, and on the radio program, This American Life. He is the author of the memoir The Answer to the Riddle Is Me, named by Kirkus Reviews as one of the Best Books of 2014.

Lynn Melnick is the author of the poetry collections Landscape with Sex and Violence and If I Should Say I Have Hope, and the co-editor of Please Excuse This Poem: 100 Poets for the Next Generation. Her poetry has appeared in APR, The New Republic, The New Yorker, The Paris Review, A Public Space, and elsewhere, and she has written essays and book reviews for Boston Review, LA Review of Books, and Poetry Daily, among others. A 2017-2018 fellow at the New York Public Library’s Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers, she also serves on the executive board of VIDA: Women in Literary Arts. Born in Indianapolis, she grew up in Los Angeles and currently lives in Brooklyn.

Lauren Russell is the author of What’s Hanging on the Hush (Ahsahta, 2017)A Cave Canem graduate fellow, she was the 2014-2015 Jay C. and Ruth Halls Poetry Fellow at the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing, the 2016 VIDA Fellow to the Home School, and a 2017 National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellow in poetry. She is a research assistant professor and is assistant director of the Center for African American Poetry and Poetics at the University of Pittsburgh.

Pam Ortiz is that rare songwriter who can touch people where they feel deeply, where they laugh and where they cry. She did this for ten years with the group Terra Nova in the ’90s, playing to packed coffee houses in the Baltimore-Washington area. Her songs were showcased in the three albums that the group recorded. She released a fourth album, Rattle Them Chains, in 2012. Since then, she has performed solo, with her five-piece group the Pam Ortiz Band, and also with her husband, percussionist Bob Ortiz. Her signature clear voice, coupled with her turn of phrase and melody, enhance a catalogue of original songs that speak of who we are, what we’ve won and lost, how we love and live. The Pam Ortiz Band also includes Pam’s husband, Bob Ortiz, on percussion and guitar, Ford Schumann on guitar, Nevin Dawson on viola and violin, and Philip Dutton on piano and keyboards.

For more information on this and other events, view our annual Literary Events Calendar brochure here: www.washcoll.edu/live/files/7406-2017-2018. The 2018-19 brochure is forthcoming this summer. For more information on the Literary House, visit www.washcoll.edu/centers/lithouse/.

Laura Johnson Steps Up Into Role as Vice President of Finance

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Washington College President Kurt Landgraf announced today that Laura Johnson, who has served as Washington College’s chief budget officer for the past four years, will be promoted to Vice President of Finance.

Johnson, who before joining Washington College was the senior global financial analyst with the DuPont Company in Wilmington, Delaware, succeeds Rahel Rosner, who has accepted a position with St. Paul’s School in Baltimore.

“I am honored to continue to serve Washington College and excited for the opportunity to partner with Kurt, faculty, and senior leadership to ensure the sustainability of our future,” Johnson says. “We have some of the most talented and dedicated students, faculty, and staff and a board that is generous and insightful.  I look forward to the relationship with the community of Chestertown and to the exciting challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.”

In announcing the transition, Landgraf applauded the work of the Finance and Administration team, which is managing capital projects in various stages of development, from the construction of the Hodson Boathouse and Semans-Griswold Environmental Hall, to the upcoming renovation of the Cullen residential hall, the completion of a full facilities condition assessment, and a master plan update.

Less visible, he said, has been the team’s work on financial sustainability, budget modeling, and projections—areas of primary focus for Johnson. She has been the main liaison between both the Provost’s Office and the Office of Finance and the academic and administrative departments for matters related to resource allocation, financial planning, and approval of actions related to employees, major purchases, and capital projects. She serves on the Finance and Benefits Committee, the Planning Committee, the Donor Relations & Stewardship Committee, and as an adviser for the Washington College Veterans Association, helping lead the annual holiday drive to gather and send supplies and gifts to those deployed in the active military.

“Laura Johnson is an incredibly talented financial officer who has proven to be up to the challenge of maximizing the College’s resources,” says Landgraf. “She’s also totally committed to the welfare of this institution. I am delighted to be able to tap one of most our talented and committed employees for a position of greater responsibility.”

About Washington College

Founded in 1782, Washington College is the tenth oldest college in the nation and the first chartered under the new Republic. It enrolls approximately 1,450 undergraduates from more than 35 states and a dozen nations. With an emphasis on hands-on, experiential learning in the arts and sciences, and more than 40 multidisciplinary areas of study, the College is home to nationally recognized academic centers in the environment, history, and writing. Learn more at washcoll.edu.

Young Environmental Stewards Summer Conference at Washington College

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Washington College’s Center for Environment & Society (CES) announces the launch of a new summer conference for rising high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors. July 17 through the July 21st, the Young Environmental Stewards Conference (YES) will introduce students to the Chesapeake Bay Watershed through kayaking, wildlife habitat research, marine research and more.

Easy access to the Chester River is one of the things that makes Washington College truly unique. At the YES Conference, participants will have the opportunity to get out on the river with like-minded students and explore environmental science in an up close and personal format.

CES is one of Washington College’s Signature Centers. It is designed to promote the integration of environmental issues, social values, and getting your hands dirty within the field experiences. We live in a world with increasing environmental and related social problems that are rapidly reaching crisis levels. As we work toward finding solutions, we need to train a new generation of creative, solution-oriented leaders. The Center for Environment & Society prepares students – the next generation of leaders – to help solve the most pressing environmental problems of the 21st Century through innovative curriculum, real world experience, training in cutting edge technologies, and new ways of thinking.

At the YES Conference, participants will have an opportunity to explore a 4,700-acre living laboratory at Washington College’s River and Field Campus (RAFC). They will see examples of the pristine ecosystems including some that are geographically exclusive. Students will spend time on the college’sour research vessel, the Callinectes and learn how intricately land and water are connected. In addition, participants will come away with an overview of the many different facets of CES by exploring special topics such as archaeology, geographic information systems, and food production.

The cost of the conference is $700, and covers all costs associated with the program including, overnight accommodations and all meals during the conference. To register please visit: https://www.washcoll.edu/centers/ces/summer-conference/. Registration will close on June 15th.

For more information on the content of the program, or questions in general, please feel free to contact Jamie Frees at jfrees2@washcoll.edu.

To learn more about the Center for Environment & Society or for more information on this event, please visit www.washcoll.edu/centers/ces.

Collaborative Marketing Campaign With BuzzFeed Wins International Communications Awards

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The College Relations and Marketing team at Washington College has won two Awards of Distinction in the 24th Annual Communicator Awards for its collaborative campaign with BuzzFeed to increase WC’s awareness among college-bound teens. Judged by the Academy of Interactive and Visual Arts (AIVA), the Communicator Awards is the largest and most competitive awards program honoring creative excellence for communications professionals.

Washington College earned Awards of Distinction in marketing effectiveness for content marketing, and in digital/online advertising and marketing for its native advertising through the BuzzFeed campaign. Other winners included Acura, Fiat Chrysler Jeep, Whirlpool, Bank of America, Citi, FedEx, and Pepsi. The international competition is judged by AIVA, a group of 600-plus leading professionals in media, advertising, and marketing, including Starbucks, Condé Nast, Time, Inc., Yahoo!, and Disney.

The strategic campaign with BuzzFeed, a leading independent digital media company known to capture the 13- to 17-year-old market through its powerful distribution channels on social media, represents the first time the College has attempted to generate awareness on this scale.

“The goal was to reach high school students when they are most engaged–on their phones and on social media–with relatable sponsored content they care about to engage and share with their friends on Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram,” says Rolando Irizarry, Washington College vice president of communications and marketing. “The native content we strategically created within the BuzzFeed format authentically speaks to the unique values of Washington College and shares the college life experience while living on the Eastern Shore and in Chestertown. By doing this, we were able to generate mass awareness, spark interest, and drive students to look into Washington College as an option.”

The four-month campaign resulted in 83 million impressions, with close to one million viewers who clicked on the BuzzFeed posts. As a result, compared to the same period last year,the College’s Facebook page saw a 77 percent page view increase, the College website’s homepage views increased 94 percent, and overall page views increased 32 percent site-wide.

The most popular post was “Pull An All-Nighter And We’ll Tell You What Grade You Got.” High school students easily understand the “all-nighter” idea, and the BuzzFeed audience loves taking these fun quizzes and sharing the results. This post also drove the highest number of click-outs to Washington College’s web site, generating more awareness of the College.

“The sophisticated approach to this campaign called for long hours with BuzzFeed and the creative brain power from the CRM team,” Irizarry says. “I’m so proud of them and what we’ve been able to accomplish with this campaign.”

The Communications Awards closely follows CRM winning five honors—three platinum and two gold—in the 2018 Hermes Creative Awards, showcasing its work across multiple disciplines and platforms, from the Washington College Magazine to the BuzzFeed campaign to support enrollment efforts.

Click here to view the award-winning Washington College BuzzFeed page: www.buzzfeed.com/washingtoncollege

About Washington College

Founded in 1782, Washington College is the tenth oldest college in the nation and the first chartered under the new Republic. It enrolls approximately 1,450 undergraduates from more than 35 states and a dozen nations. With an emphasis on hands-on, experiential learning in the arts and sciences, and more than 40 multidisciplinary areas of study, the College is home to nationally recognized academic centers in the environment, history, and writing. Learn more at washcoll.edu.