An old-school field trip near the end of the fall 2023 semester saw Professor Marc Andreas and students in his Marketing & Sales class leave the Kuyper campus to visit the local and family-owned Swift Printing Company to learn about its approach to sales and marketing.
Andreas, both program director and professor in Kuyper’s Business Leadership Department, enjoyed taking his students on these kinds of trips and said such visits allow them to see their in-class learning playing out beyond the walls of their classroom.
“It gives them a more tangible way of learning the material than just reading about it in a book. I also have them write reflections on several of the trips to really solidify it for them,” he said.
Owned by the same Grand Rapids family for three generations, Swift Printing is deeply concerned with the welfare of its employees and community. And, as a certified B Corporation, it also meets high standards of social and environmental performance, transparency and accountability.
Andreas said this made Swift Printing a perfect choice for the recent outing because it exemplifies an important principle of the Business Leadership program at Kuyper: the triple bottom line.
“This means Christians in business have social and environmental responsibilities as well as financial ones,” Andreas said. “Our students learn that they actually have three bottom lines to think about: people, planet, and profit.”
Jessica Gutowski-Slaydon, one of Swift Printing’s co-owners, was excited to lead the tour and share her company’s unique approach to sales and marketing with Andreas and his students.
“We don’t really have a traditional marketing style; it’s much more community-oriented,” she said. “Our strategy is goodwill for the community and our employees by donating to charities instead of traditional advertising.”
She added that another aspect of the company’s community-oriented values involves providing low-income housing on the upper floors of their building in partnership with local organizations Dwelling Place and Genesis Non-Profit Housing.
Andreas said he has many other upcoming trips and guest speakers in the works for Kuyper students.
“One of the best parts of teaching at Kuyper is that I have the freedom and opportunity to take students out to learn about these kinds of things. It sticks with them and helps them go out and make an impact on the world,” he said.