UB Student Brainpower Connects A Bridge To Opportunity

When college student creativity is available, you embrace it. Mayor Joe Ganim, unlike his predecessor Bill Finch, is leveraging the minds of University of Bridgeport students in the cause of marketing the city. Professor Susan Katz, who designed the OIB website, challenged her students in the Publicity Methods class to create a video, brochure and marketing strategy for Connecticut’s largest city. A city must always market its assets. The focus for this project is the city’s Downtown. See video above.

Ganim, Economic Development Director Tom Gill and other city officials attended the student-created project Tuesday night at UB. University President Neil Salonen, who served as co-chair of Ganim’s transition team, was also on hand to view the presentation. Ganim is an alumnus of the university’s school of law before it relocated to Quinnipiac University in Hamden about 25 years ago. Katz also served as a direct-mail strategist for Ganim’s comeback win last year.

UB bridge
Front row center, UB President Neil Salonen and Joe Ganim with other city officials flanked by students at rear.

The students crafted a campaign that has many applications for city usage: website, social media, marketing retention, business attraction at no cost to the city. The video focuses on The Bridge, the city’s Downtown, that highlights business staples such as Ralph & Rich’s Restaurant as well as young creative minds that recently set up shop. Ironically the video features some projects started or advanced under Finch who once worked at the university but ignored it during his eight years as mayor. Finch was defeated by Ganim in a 2015 Democratic primary.

The New Downtown Bridgeport cover
Brochure created by students.


  1. NO amount of media hype will erase the stupidity of the Downtown parking meters. Ganim and UB can go Downtown and pay. Not me. The Downtown Parking rules are made by people who neither live nor “play” in Bridgeport. They work in Bridgeport during the day and then GET OUT at 5pm.

    1. Actually Frank, in the last minute or so the video displays a scene on State Street with cars parked alongside Morton Government Center a/k/a City Hall Annex. There are no parking meters next to Mayor Ganim’s office but a two-hour restriction (?) for people who go into City Hall with passes and stay for the better part of day. Tickets for those vehicles? Still looking. Why no meters there? Time will tell.

      1. Hector Diaz, TRUE; but if some open-minded person thinks and analyzes the business situation in Downtown Bridgeport, they would, at least, entertain the notion of getting rid of the meters for a couple of years. I live in Black Rock. I can easily drive into Fairfield Center and there are NO meters. Who wants to sit down at a dinner or any event and have the meters bothering them in the back of their minds? Who needs the pain in the ass problem of meters? Not me. I go where there are no meters. More shortsighted thinking by the powers that be in Bridgeport who happen to not live or “play” here.

  2. Great job by some really talented people. Now let’s get some real development happening that will actually mean something for the city in terms of bringing back real prosperity and an American quality of life.

    Bridgeport’s real condition can only be described as third world with a handful of bright spots and possibilities for improvement. Ralph & Rich’s is probably the only real success story currently in existence in the downtown. The new art-supply place is great, but it hasn’t even been there for a year (I hope it becomes a tremendously successful, Bridgeport institution, a la Koenig’s). The Bijou is in mothballs. The waterfront development is a joke, power plants and jail, with only more power plants in the offing.

    Let’s have UB brainstorm and engineer the creation of an economic resurgence through advanced manufacturing, biotech, information technology, finance, and other real tax-base and jobs-creating endeavors that can actually take us back to an American standard of living.

    Plenty of talent at UB, but way too much bs in City Hall, Hartford, and the offices of the BRBC (not to deny Mickey Herbert the chance to remedy that situation).

  3. It was a good assignment for college students and the use of old and new contrasts was effective. However, the focus on R&R (and ignoring Joseph’s long-term survival for similar reasons as well) yet ignoring the opportunities in the City for food experiences from Brazil, Vietnam, Jamaica, Greece, Turkey, Mexico and others as City strengths is a loss.
    University of Bridgeport itself embraces a broad international student and faculty representation. City strength? And neighborhoods with low-priced homes (albeit tax bills too high)? And people who believe in the City of many origins and ethnicities? A hidden or at least unshown strength? Maybe a lot was left on the cutting room floor? Time will tell.

  4. My pro-Bridgeport plan is superior. Here’s why:
    I have rented digital office space in Boston and New York City, sometimes called “Bridgeport bookends.” From there, I connect interested readers with OPED’s page on the City’s web site. In addition, I cross-sell Bridgeport (on my own Bridgeport-themed site) to people who are looking for alternatives and that crowd is growing fast.
    The Bridge is the same thing our competitors are doing. My approach is innovative.
    It’s not altruism if you substitute a group photo for genuine action.

  5. The Bridge is a genuine activity. Critics say it’s way too long but video pros say the narrator’s voice does not match the timber and tone of the intended “buyer.” Consequently, success seems limited. In addition money or a motivated tribe will be needed to promote The Bridge. Who’s seeing it now? My plan is self-funded and available now to anyone using the internet. What’s good for Bridgeport is good for me and I’m already using mankind’s most accurate measuring device to prove it!

  6. Dear Prof. Katz and her talented students,
    The response to your excellent concept piece about downtown Bridgeport shows a turtle makes progress only when it sticks its head out. Plus a local corollary: To make progress in Bridgeport, the turtle needs tough skin and a hard shell. Fortunately, turtles possess plenty of tough skin and hard shells.

    You have done good, and it’s clear your professor and your university are proud of you. You have shown a way forward, and you have spoken in the language of millennials. With time and budget, could you do better? Of course! Do some of the critics here make valid points? Yes, some do. But you had a fixed amount of time, probably a budget close to or pegged at $0.00, and your youth worked both for and against your efforts.

    You done good. Bravo! (And thank you!)

    –Doug Davidoff
    Downtown resident and creative business owner

  7. Just because The Bridge has no cost to the City doesn’t mean it has any value to Bridgeport. It’s not worthwhile (art) until it finds a favorable audience.
    Repeat: my plan is superior because it gets a better message in front of the right eyeballs in NYC and Boston.
    Full disclosure: readers should know, at his request, I am promoting Mr. Davidoff’s client on my Bridgeport-themed web site.


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