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Mayoral Forum

April 30, 2004

Students in Richard Easley's Internet Marketing Strategies class got some real-world experience presenting a semester's worth of research on economic development to Waco's five mayoral candidates in a forum on April 29 in the Hughes-Dillard Alumni Center.

Each of five groups of students offered an analysis of one of Waco's city Web sites, in terms of its contribution toward economic development in McLennan County, and made specific suggestions for improving those sites. The candidates, Bruce Dyer, Mae Jackson, Christopher Josefy -- a senior at Baylor -- Maurice Labens and Randy Riggs, chose their favorite student idea and then communicated their own plans for developing Waco's economy.

Easley, associate professor of marketing in Hankamer School of Business, saw the mayoral election as a chance to involve students with the people who might someday implement their marketing ideas to bring new business to Waco. "What an excellent opportunity to get these guys together with these students where they can critique their projects," he said.

Students were unaware that the event would be covered by the media or that others would be in attendance until the week of the event, Easley said. "That's one of the things you're exposed to when you're out marketing. You don't know what's going to happen and you need to be able to speak on the spot for your organization. I think they're getting some real world experience here," he said.

Last fall, Easley's students analyzed Baylor's own Web site and invited academic and administrative departments to hear students present research. The response was so positive, that he wanted to continue offering the same type of opportunity for his class.

He said that the event benefited Baylor students and Waco. "There's a perception in the community that Baylor is one community and Waco is another; that's a mistaken notion because we're very much intertwined. I think events like this ... change that perception," he said.

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