August 12, 2004
NASA is eyeing marketing proposals devised by a group of Arizona State University students to help elevate public excitement about the U.S. space program.
ASU students Lisa Kidwell of Chandler and Ben Higgins of Tempe are in the nation’s capital this week with several members of the project team to meet officials and scientists at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration headquarters. They’re pitching a campaign to promote the international space station and future missions to the moon and Mars.
"We’ve gotten a lot of positive response. Our ideas are being taken seriously and we’re very excited. There’s a good chance our work will be used on a national campaign,’’ said project manager Kidwell, a mass communications graduate student with a degree in aerospace engineering.
Kidwell, Higgins and ASU graduate student Kenny Quihuis organized work by about 60 ASU and Art Institute of Phoenix students for a NASA-sponsored competition earlier this year that challenged college students to come up with marketing and public relations strategies for the space program.
The campaign aims largely at stoking the imaginations of young students, focusing on the sense of wonder evoked by space exploration and the "fun stuff’’ learned from it, Kidwell said. Ideas for promotional events involving the Valley’s two cosmically named pro basketball teams — the Suns and the Mercury — are drawing particular interest.
The plan proposes the Suns host a Cosmic Night. Festivities would include a cosmic costume contest and space trivia games.
The Suns also would join the Mercury in the Read to Achieve child literacy program.
If NASA decides to go with the campaign, the Suns’ organization is ready to schedule a Cosmic Night for the coming season, said Ray Artigue, head of marketing for the teams.