Linda Depta, Director of College Relations at Kalamazoo Valley Community College, treated InterCom to a sneak peek of their Bronson Healthy Living Campus on March 10: both figuratively and literally. The lunch program, held at their new Culinary/Allied Health Building, allowed attendees an insider’s view of the creation and corresponding marketing campaign of this unique venture.
- KVCC rebranding campaign. Linda discussed how a skeleton crew and an outside agency rebuilt their brand six years ago, from the ground up. Next challenge: We want to build a new campus.
- The issue: Kalamazoo, and more importantly, the world is in a health crisis. Lack of healthy foods and poor dietary choices lead to multiple health issues and a decreased quality of life. In Kalamazoo County, 63% of adults are overweight or obese.
- The response: KVCC partnered with Bronson Healthcare and Kalamazoo Community Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services in 2013. Together, they created the Bronson Healthy Campus to boost urban revitalization, community health and workforce development through sustainable food education, training, production, distribution and preparation. In other words, they took to heart the notion that food is medicine. Their purpose video can be viewed here.
- The campaign. Linda walked us through the capital campaign and the marketing support needed to convince our community that this issue needed to be addressed – keeping in mind that nobody had ever created a mission like this before. The BHLC is the first in the nation to offer these kind of solutions, with these resources and programs, in this type of academic setting.
- The results. The three-building campus is up and running with most of its needed money raised and in place. Classed are full, the indoor farm is growing and the student-run restaurant is open for business. The marketing efforts paid off, on time and on budget.
Dessert: After the presentation in the culinary theatre, Linda took interested attendees on a guided tour of the Culinary/Allied Health Building. In-house brewing, state-of-the-art industrial kitchens, a medical simulation room, and a working stationary ambulance were all part of the journey. We left with heads full of knowledge and hearts full of passion, and with bellies rumbling in anticipation of partaking in delicious healthy-living cuisine when the campus café’s and restaurants open again in the fall.
By Curtis Cunningham, Vice President, Lawrence Productions. Decades-long InterCom member.