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Alumni Help Students Make the Grade

By Jackie Mead
As the spring semester of 2011 is drawing to a close at Georgia State University, many graduating seniors are scurrying to prepare for life after textbooks. With the shaky economy and the pressure of beginning a career breathing down students’ necks, the reality of finding a new job can seem bleak. However, one professor is giving a new twist on preparing students for a professional business career.
Professor Hiram Barksdale teaches a direct marketing class that challenges marketing students to apply key marketing concepts that have been studied throughout students’ educational careers to be used in a real world setting.  Dr. Barksdale, in collaboration with Dana Graziano (Marketing Maven of Enso Apartments) and Melissa White (Enso’s Director of Property Management), gives students the ability to learn about marketing through a unique hands-on experience.
How it works: Dr. Barksdale takes his class of about 20 students and divides them up into different marketing departments, such as social media, public relations, events, advertising, and marketing research. Each department is led by a department head. One coordinator and two co-coordinators guide and oversee the groups’ progress toward Enso marketing objective completion.
The class communicates with Graziano on planning and attending events, budgeting for advertising, creating flyers, updating their online blog, creating brand awareness surveys, and much more. Real results are brought in from every individual, allowing them to focus on the areas of marketing they are interested in. Driving their passion for more than just a good grade, is the experience that allows the students to share with one another. Being able to see an actual project come together from individual work and gaining feedback from professional business leaders in the Atlanta community is the perfect preparation tool for what’s on the other side of the fence.
Although students are gaining a tremendous amount of experience from this unique opportunity, there is definitely a plus for Enso Apartments.  Graziano, a Georgia State Marketing alumni and member of Phi Mu Fraternity, states she would like overall for the project to “increase awareness in the Atlanta community, develop the Enso brand as more than just another apartment community; it’s about creating a lifestyle for our residents and the community.”
What it means to be green can seem ambiguous. Enso Apartments is more than just using environmentally friendly products in each apartment, but also creating an accessible green lifestyle for their residents. Enso’s homepage has a blog that is updated regularly and a calendar full of events for residents and guests.
So what is the difficult thing about being a new apartment complex in Atlanta? Differentiating one complex from the thousands of other apartment complexes that clog the city, can seem difficult to overcome, but Enso meets this challenge head-on by providing a fresh new approach to apartment living.  By differentiating themselves as green living community and by reaching their Y generation target market through the use of new media technologies, social media websites, social events, word of mouth, videos and blogs about living green, and social events they have created a unique niche advertising advantage that goes beyond any other.
Under Greystar management and Capital 33’s development, Enso stands behind its belief in going green by being Atlanta’s first LEED Certified apartments. Enso has strived for a GOLD LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) property certification since their opening in October 2010.
After this semester Dana Graziano and Melissa White plan to continue collaborating with Professor Hiram Barksdale in future semesters and helping students with real life experiences.
Currently, Enso Apartments has 1 and 2 bedroom apartments available. Unique amenities offered include a saltwater pool, and Energy Star stainless steel appliances. Future expectations include a dog park, which would include biodegradable waste bags.
Residents can keep themselves entertained in Enso’s movie theatre, gaming lounge, or get in shape at the fitness and conditioning center. Visit Enso Apartments online at to find out more information.

Students spread the good word about Enso in Virginia Highlands on St. Patty's day.

Melissa White and Dana Graziano lounge in the on-site computer and gaming lounge at Enso Apartments. Photos courtesy of Enso Apartments

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