Marketing management students at the University of New Mexico's Anderson School of Management were recognized recently with the Scholastic Achievement Award (SAA) in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Tween Seat Belt Use Program, awarded by the U.S. Department of Transportation and EdVenture Partners. UNM was one of six universities selected to participate in the program and one of only two institutions to receive an SAA award for outstanding efforts in achieving the program objectives.

According to the National Center for Health Statistics, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for children ages 3 to 14.

As part of the semester-long program, students in the promotion management course at the Anderson School created an integrated marketing communications plan aimed at increasing and maintaining proper seat belt use and seating position among tweens (ages 8-12). Lecturer John Benavidez and Associate Professor Catherine Roster mentored the students.

The campaign developed by the UNM team included public service advertisements for television, radio and outdoor media as well as strategies on how to maximize social media and web-based interactive technology. Elements of the campaign may be used by NHTSA in future child passenger safety marketing campaigns sponsored by the agency.

As an SAA recipient, representatives from the class were invited to Washington, D.C. at the end of the fall semester to present their marketing campaign and results to NHTSA executives and representatives from the Ad Council. The team that traveled to Washington included Tracey Boughton, Sarah DeLorenzo, Byron Gibbs, Nicole McCarty, and Glenn Tenorio.

The NHTSA Tween Seat Belt Use Program was designed and managed by Orinda, Calif. based EdVenture Partners (EVP). EVP is the only marketing education consultancy in the United States that brings together educators, students, and clients for mutual collaboration and benefit.

After attending the Scholastic Achievement Award presentation in Washington, Tony Sgro, CEO of EdVenture Partners praised the students for their well-thought out, strategic campaign developed for NHTSA.

"The UNM speakers were professional, articulate and held the audience captive throughout their entire presentation," said Sgro. "Their performance validates the important adage…it is not only what is said, but how it is said. Clearly, the UNM students scored big points for both their content and their style."

The award adds to a string of previous achievements by Anderson School marketing students. In both 2005 and 2006, graduate students won first place in the Cadillac National Case Study Competition. More recently, a group of undergraduate marketing students took top honors in the 2008 Project Acceleration: Subaru Impreza Collegiate Challenge.

Media contact: Leslie Venzuela, 277-7117; e-mail: