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Around Town: UMass students’ marketing skills impress NASCAR

Five University of Massachusetts students and their instructor will be at the Homestead-Miami Speedway watching the final race in this year’s Sprint Cup Series Sunday afternoon.

The all-expense paid trip to Miami and South Beach, which also includes a Daughtry concert and dinner with NASCAR executives, is their reward for winning this year’s NASCAR Kinetics: Marketing in Motion competition.

The students, part of the Mark H. McCormack Department of Sport Management, triumphed over students from 17 other universities, after a different group, also taught by associate professor Stephen McKelvey, finished second a year ago.

Matthew Graham, a senior from Agawam, said he is looking forward to the trip, which will include viewing some of the race from the pit crew area.

“It’s a very unique experience,” Graham said.

First, students made a 15-minute video to market the videogame “NASCAR The Game: Inside Line.” Second, they prepared a paper explaining how to promote stock car driver Martin Truex Jr. and increase his star power and strengthen his brand.

They then held a viewing party last month during which they got 300 people to watch a race at The Pub and integrated prizes, such as a Sprint Tablet, and sponsorships, from NAPA Auto Parts, associated with NASCAR.

While Graham was not an auto racing fan, he said the experiential class made him appreciate NASCAR and how it ties in with sponsors.

After interning with the Philadelphia Flyers hockey team during the summer, Graham has now been contacted by Michael Waltrip Racing, for which Truex races, about developing strategies for his name recognition.

“The whole time at UMass I’ve been striving to have a career in sport management,” Graham said. “This could definitely open some doors in NASCAR.”

Fiddlers’ tree

A tradition of lighting a tree at the Fiddlers’ Green in South Amherst during the holiday season could be in jeopardy as the tree is dying.

With this in mind, the town’s Shade Tree Committee and W.D. Cowls Inc. have pledged to provide a new tree.

Committee Chairwoman Hope Crolius said she and other members will be joined by Shirley Lauder and Nancy Torrey, two residents who have made the appeal, to select a new tree from a former Christmas tree farm in North Amherst.

The tree is expected to be planted on the Common in the spring and lit in December 2013.

Meetings

Monday: Cultural Council, 3 p.m., Amherst Room, Jones Library; Personnel, Planning and Policy Committee of Jones Library Trustees, 4 p.m., Trustees Room, Jones Library; Policy Subcommittee of Amherst-Pelham Regional School Committee, 5 p.m., superintendent’s conference room, middle school; Select Board, 6:15 p.m., band room, middle school; Town Meeting, 7 p.m., middle school auditorium.

Tuesday: Budget Committee of Jones Library Trustees, 10 a.m., Trustees Room, Jones Library.

Amherst

ONline courses: The Jones Library is offering patrons access to a learning resource known as Ed2go. Through the library’s website, joneslibrary.org, patrons can access free instructor-led online courses.

Library Director Sharon Sharry said in a statement that the courses range from personal finance and creative writing to accounting and business skills. “Part of our mission is to inspire and engage lifelong learning within our community,” Sharry said.

Each course is offered for six weeks, features 12 lessons and online discussions, homework, quizzes and a final exam. The courses are designed for personal and professional development and are not college equivalent courses.

For more information, contact the reference desk at Jones LIbrary at 259-3096 or by email at reference@joneslibrary.org

Workplace training: Business owners and others interested in learning about the Workplace Training Fund are invited to the next Brown Bag Series put on by the Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce. Michael Corcoran, operations manager for the fund, will be the guest speaker for the talk titled “I Need Help! Training and Hiring Using Workplace Training Funds,” which will be held Nov. 20 from noon to 1:30 p.m. at the Jones Library.

Corcoran will show how businesses can qualify for and use the funds.

The Franklin Hampshire Career Center is working with the Chamber on the presentation.

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