By Victoria Atwood, American Marketing Association Vice President of Programming

Only a few years ago, Pacific Lutheran University’s chapter of the American Marketing Association (AMA) had a traditional club structure. It had weekly meetings, a few events and perhaps a big fundraiser over the course of the year. There was an executive board that consisted of a president, vice president, treasurer and so on.

It became clear that this wasn’t working. Too often, members felt they had little to contribute at meetings where officers were doing all the planning — or there were no upcoming events in the near future and meetings were pointless. The club did not heavily publicize events, the events had low attendance and even AMA members could forget an event was happening.

Within the past year, that has all changed.  AMA has gained new life through major restructuring. First, weekly meetings went out the door so the club could focus on its new speaker series.

With this new series, marketing professionals from around the region have come to speak on topics from branding to relationship marketing. Speakers have included Clayton Krueger of Farrelli’s Pizza, Rusty George of Rusty George Creative and Dan Rosales of Northwestern Mutual Finance.

Additionally, AMA’s officer board has been completely restructured. Gone is the rigid hierarchical structure where all officers answered to the president.

Now, the executive board is made up of four vice presidents, all equal: a vice president of finance, a vice president of operations and two vice presidents of programming. This new framework will allow for greater collaboration and creativity as AMA grows and evolves to meet the needs of its members.

This spring, a number of speakers are already lined up, including Madonna Hanna, creator of the “Dare Not to Swear” campaign, and another talk from Rusty George, of Rusty George Creative. But they aren’t the only ones — there are several other speakers that are sponsored or co-sponsored by AMA tentatively coming to PLU this spring.

AMA will also be doing site visits for the first time ever this semester. This will involve a group of students going to local businesses to observe what marketing looks like outside of the classroom. These groups will have limited space, so interested students will want to keep an ear out for when dates and times are announced.

Finally, being connected with PLU’s chapter of the AMA gives students the chance to hear about regional AMA events, from conferences to networking events. As the club continues to grow, its members will be able to represent PLU more frequently than ever before. The chance to learn about the latest developments in marketing or meeting with important people in the industry should be enough to grab anyone’s attention.

Right now, AMA is full of exciting opportunities for students, from networking with marketing professionals to accessing a huge amount of regional and national resources.  Students from multiple disciplines — public relations, human resources and, of course, marketing — have found that the American Marketing Association is a great investment in their futures.

To keep up with AMA, send an email to and ask to be put on the mailing list or go on Facebook and Like “PLU American Marketing Association.”

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