Did you know that the city of Lansing is filled with advertising, public relations, and design companies? Well, you’re not the only one. Michigan’s capital is home to many secret gems. Most students majoring in these creative fields don’t know the agencies or opportunities around them. To give students a chance to see these companies, the Mid-Michigan Creative Alliance hosts a Lansing Studio Crawl each fall. This year was the eleventh time hosting the event. It started off in 2008 and has been kicking ever since. This is my second year going to the event and it’s been an incredible learning experience each time.
The crawl was on October 17, 2019, running from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. For the first two hours, studios hosted tours of their company and answered students’ questions. For the final hours of the night, everyone headed to the Lansing Brewing Company for a networking event. The great thing about this event is that you can pop into any studio for any amount of time, making it extremely flexible for your schedule. If you’re thinking about trying it out in the coming years, here is a quick rundown of the event.
You can start out at the Lansing Brewing Company to get your “Studio Passport”, which you use for the entirety of the day. If you already know a studio that you want to go to, you can bypass the brewery and go straight there as studios will also have passports.
When you go into a studio, you will be greeted by staff members with food and drinks, and stamp your passport to show you went there. Being in the fall, every studio offers cider and donuts – bonus! Exactly what we all need on a chilly October day. The studio tours start every 10 to 15 minutes. They will take you around the office and answer any burning questions you may have. It’s fun to see the work that they’ve created and who their clients are. In each tour, you’re able to get a feel of the atmosphere, work environment, and people. If you want to work in that business, this is essential to know.
At the studios, always ask if they have any internships or job positions open. Most likely they won’t – but you never know. There’s no harm in asking. One studio this year did have two student internship positions open and they were very vocal to tell everybody to apply.
Once the crawl is over, most people head over to the Lansing Brewing Company. Once you get there, the staff will exchange your passport for raffle tickets. The more studios you went to the more tickets you get. Both years they have raffled off amazing prizes. This year it was a $75 gift card, an Apple Watch and Apple Airpods. Additionally, there was a photographer that took pictures that you could use for LinkedIn, your portfolio or any other professional aspect. The same photographer has been there since I started going to the crawl, and he does a great job. He’ll make you smile and feel comfortable, letting your inner-badass shine through.
People will slowly flood in from the studios and start mingling. Go and make friends. Talk to people from the studios; you never know what you’ll learn or what connections you’ll make. They also have food there and you get one free drink on the house, so make it something fun. Now, being 21 years old, I could finally take advantage of that. I got a glass of wine.
I’m a senior majoring in advertising and professional writing. When I heard about the crawl in my junior year, I hopped on it immediately. Both times have been so eye-opening. During my first year, I went with a group of students from one of my advertising classes. This past crawl, I just went by myself. It pushed me to do things outside of my comfort zone and connect with more people. There were certainly times where I was standing and looking around the room, wondering who I could talk to and feeling a little out of place. Sometimes I retreated to the safety of friends from past classes and made conversation with them, which was helpful to have. It was the times that I went out of my way to talk to somebody new that felt truly good and freeing. All it takes is 30 seconds of pure courage to do anything.
If you are pursuing a creative career, I would highly recommend that you go to the crawl next year. You can find more information on this event on Facebook next fall.
Heather Haely is a senior studying Professional Writing and Advertising. After graduation, she wants to edit or advertise for a publishing house. Heather loves good books and free time with friends. Her perfect day is in the sun with the sand in between her toes. She also likes to make fun of herself and dance like no one’s watching. Follow her on Instagram @heather_haely.