On Friday, Cardinal Communications hosted its first CreateAthon, a 24-hour creative event set up to help nonprofit organizations better their publicity, with the work done solely by students. 

CreateAthon is a nonprofit event to create effective marketing, public relations and advertising through pro-bono marathons. Cardinal Communications is Ball State’s student-run public relations agency, creating content for local and national clients for 40 years.

An account team is assigned to a non-profit and has 24 hours to create the marketing for the client’s request. Each team consists of volunteers.

While it was a long day, Emily Brungard, Cardinal Communications’ director of creative services, said it was a rewarding experience.

“We were all exhausted by the end, but in a good way,” Brungard said. “We knew that our work was going to help a lot of deserving people." 

The event was developed by an advertisement agency to provide local nonprofits with advertising and marketing in a 24-hour period. It has grown in the last 18 years to include students and creative organizations, not just professionals.



This year, Animal Rescue Fund, Little Red Door and the Muncie YWCA partnered with Cardinal Communications for the event.

The Public Relations Student Society of America partnered with CreateAthon. After a bid was made to PRSSA, Cardinal Communications became the host of one of the first student-led CreateAthons.

During the event, students created work for the nonprofits based on the needs that junior Carly Hashbarger, a CreateAthon core team member, determined before the event. The work consisted of social media plans and content, strategic communication plans, posters, flyers, other advertisements and more.

Food donations from HotBox Pizza, McAlister’s Deli, Fazoli’s and Jack’s Donuts were given to team members to keep them motivated throughout their work. There were breaks that included yoga, salsa dancing lessons, caricature drawing and more.

The team reached out to clients in the community who they believed would benefit from the work Cardinal Communications produces. Brungard said the clients were grateful for the work the team did.