Retiring the Mack, Welcoming the Forrer Learning Commons

Ady Dewey, Bridgewater College


The Bridgewater campus was on the verge of a dramatic change as the Alexander Mack Memorial Library transformed into the John Kenny Forrer Learning Commons. The project impacted every student as the Mack closed its doors in May 2018, library services were moved to another building and warehouse, and new study spaces were created on campus. Despite this project touching every current and prospective student, there was not a distinct communication plan to reach this audience.

At the request of the library administration, the Strategic Public Relations class planned and recommended how to promote and educate the campus community about the project. After creating a problem statement, the students identified the key stakeholders: the administration, the support offices located in the library (the Writing Center and IT), and two distinct groups of students: commuter and residential. Interviews were conducted with each stakeholder group. The key words were used to define messages as well as complete a SWOT analysis: strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.

Clients were briefed throughout the project soliciting their feedback. The final recommendations included a banner for the construction fence, videos, posters, social media messages, emails, and giveaways. While individual students worked in small groups on those aspects of the project that best played to their strengths, the full class of 18 collaboratively developed messaging as well as critiqued each draft product, making any recommendations for edits, to finalize for the client presentation.