Bekemeh Airewele on Marketing, Diversity, and the Elevator Pitch Competition

A Q&A with Bekemeh Airewele, ’19 // Marketing

Marketing major Bekemeh Airewele, ‘19 took advantage of all the opportunities Champlain College has to offer. Before she graduated, we talked about deciding on a major, signing up for the Elevator Pitch, and studying in the Stiller School of Business.

Q: Why did you decide to pursue Marketing?

A: I knew I wanted to do something in the business world, but I wasn’t quite sure what. With the Upside-Down Curriculum, I was able to take a few marketing classes from the start and realized I really liked them. Marketing is perfect for me. It involves a lot of being creative and talking to people.

I took this class called Marketing & the Organizational Mindset, where we were matched up with a real company here in Burlington. We worked with this ski company, Renoun Skis, and made them a marketing plan. Even though I’m not a skier, it was so fun looking up what makes people want to buy skis, or even come to a ski shop. It’s super cool to think that I can do this every day for the rest of my life if I wanted to.

Q: What did you enjoy about the Stiller School of Business?

A: All the students in the Stiller School of Business are incredibly smart. A lot of them are currently running or have run their own businesses. I enjoy being around people who have such a passion for business, which everyone in the Stiller School seems to have.

Q: What was your favorite class at Champlain?

A: All the classes I take become my favorites in a different way, but my favorite was my Core class with Brian Murphy—Concepts of Community. I wrote a paper where I could look at any community I wanted, so I wrote about my favorite thing in the world, which is Victorian England. I really liked that because it fed my nerd soul.

Q: So what did you think of the Victorian-era mansions?

A: My first year, I lived in Lyman Hall, and I loved it. I’m from a city, so all the old houses I’d ever seen were in museums. When I pulled up on move-in day, I thought, “This is great. It’s like living in one of my books.”

Q: What organizations are you involved with on campus?

A: I could talk all day about my experience with the Office of Diversity & Inclusion, or the ODI as students call it. Champlain feels like home, but the ODI is like going back to your own room. There’s a lot of support for all students from all different types of backgrounds, which I really love. If you ever go there, you will be laughing within ten minutes. It’s so fun.

I’m also part of some activist groups on campus—such as Include, which is our Gay-Straight Alliance club—and I’m a Diversity Ambassador. We put on programs about diversity to foster a place where students can come and learn about all different types of diversity so they can learn about the issues and be better allies. It’s my work-study job so I get to be very involved on campus and teach people, which I really enjoy.

Q: Can you tell us about the Elevator Pitch?

A: Champlain always does this event called the Elevator Pitch. It’s inclusive to every major on campus, and there are three different categories that you can enter into—I did the nonprofit category. I got to step into an elevator with someone and pitch them my idea for a nonprofit. It was really nice because it helped with my speaking skills, and it’s something that I’m going to have to do in real life.

Q: What is the best part of being on a small campus?

A: Champlain College is filled with so many opportunities. It’s so easy. I feel like because Champlain is so small, you just have to do one thing and all of a sudden you’re involved in all these different programs on campus. I love that. I went to one event when I was a first-year and suddenly I was involved in so many different organizations that I genuinely wanted to be a part of.

Interested in learning more about all the opportunities you can find in the Robert P. Stiller School of Business and Champlain College in general? Come visit and explore your future!

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