From Richmond Times-Dispatch:

After more than 24 hours without sleep, a bleary-eyed Jessica Black presented her team’s work to the Byrd Theatre Foundation on Friday morning.

During the presentation, a foundation board member burst into tears.

Melissa started crying. I wasn’t sure what was going on,” the Virginia Commonwealth Universitymass communications senior said of board memberMelissa Savenko.

But thankfully for Black and her team members, Savenko’s tears were of joy.

“The perfect CreateAthon is when this happens,” said Peyton Rowe, the advertising professor at the mass communications school who organizes the 24-hour-plus marathon of creativity.

Black was one of nearly 60 advertising students who gathered at VCU’s School of Mass Communications from Thursday morning until Friday morning — during the university’s spring break — for the fourth annual CreateAthon onCampus. About 15 students from Virginia State University also took part.

The students created marketing and ad materials for a dozen nonprofit organizations that don’t have the resources to hire outside firms. The students were joined by some professionals and students from the Brandcenter, which is VCU’s graduate level advertising program.

Savenko said she was impressed by the students’ work.

“It’s a comprehensive marketing plan that’s completely professional. And they did it overnight,” she said.

The team of students assigned to the Byrd Theatre Foundation created a strategic plan, including a new logo, and streamlined the foundation’s website as well as suggesting an internship program, two fundraising events and a promotional club for children called Little Byrdies.

“The great thing about [the work that was created] is that it comes from a fresh perspective,” said Jaclyn Witthoefft, another member of the foundation’s board.

Cynthia Brown, development director for St. James’s Children’s Center, was surprised by a two-minute video the students created during the event. The video will be posted on the center’s website.

“This is something I’ve wanted for six years,” Brown said.

She said several professionals had offered up their services before, but it would have cost St. James’s $10,000 even with heavy discounts.

“We just didn’t have the resources,” she said. “That’s why I applied for [CreateAthon].

The students also updated St. James’s website and created a brochure.

Other nonprofits participating in the event were the CJ’s Thumbs Up Foundation, Culture Works, F.I.R.S.T. Contractors Inc., Friends of the James River Parks, Henley Street Theatre, Housing Options, Neighborhood Resource Center, Richmond Ambulance Authority, Safe Harbor and the Virginia Latino Higher Education Network.

Jarell Humphries, a senior studying graphic design at VSU, said the CreateAthon not only helped others but also honed his skills.

“The second year is much easier,” Humphries said. “But working with the team in an intensely dynamic setting gives me more insight into my process.”

Original article.