Communication Studies students will partner with American Seafoods for a tasting event on April 5

Students in CMST 2110, “Persuasion,” would like to persuade you to try Wild Alaskan Pollock with American Seafoods on April 5.

Pollock in a pan on a grill

American Seafoods

Wild Alaska Pollock prepared by Chef Emily. (Photo courtesy of American Seafoods)

Caroline Lingle, Staff Writer

Go fish! On April 5, a select group of Vanderbilt Communication Studies students will partner with American Seafoods to execute an event for students and faculty to try Wild Alaskan Pollock. 

The students will host the event in the E. Bronson Ingram (EBI) dining hall from 12 to 2 p.m, where students can stop by, try the fish and share feedback. They aim to raise awareness of the serving of pollock on our campus, perhaps increasing consumption in dining halls. 

This unique assignment is for Professor Courtney Travers’ “Persuasion” course, CMST 2110, which covers “The theory and practice of persuasion with particular emphasis on speech composition, the use of language and its relationship to oral style, structure, and the relationship of structure to the process of speech preparation,” per the course description. 

Specifically, this campaign aims to teach students about marketing, campaigning and public relations. This hands-on experience provides an opportunity to strengthen students’ visual and educational communication skills, as well as give them practice using strategic communication in an advertising context. These students hope to raise awareness of the sustainability and health factors of pollock. 

“It’s so cool that we are getting this persuasion experience hands-on,” junior Demi Washington said. “You don’t get that opportunity in a lot of classes.”

In 2020, a Reed Public Relations officer reached out to Professor Courtney Travers to see if she was interested in partnering with them on a project. 

“Students taking Persuasion during the Spring 2021 semester were assigned projects persuading multiple campus audiences—students and dining staff and chefs—that American Seafoods Wild Alaska Pollock was a good dining option,” Travers said. “They did this so effectively that they got the fish to be served on campus.” 

Given the success of that partnership, Reed Public Relations reached back out to Professor Travers before the start of the Spring 2022 semester to see if “Persuasion” students might be interested in partnering with Reed and American Seafoods again. Professor Travers agreed, excited about the opportunity for students to get real-world feedback from public relations associates.

Students often complain about the lack of nutritious food on campus. As a rising junior, forced to spend another semester on a required meal plan where each meal costs an absurd $16.60, I look for health benefits in my meal swipes given the high cost of food. Beyond learning about nutrition, this fascinating class assignment helps students learn both in and out of the classroom. “Persuasion” students have the opportunity to apply their classroom learning to a real-life setting—an invaluable experience for a hands-on field such as Communication Studies. 

Stop by, support your peers and taste the pollock for yourself on April 5.