The initial students involved in The Bird's Nest, with director Karen Freberg (center).
The initial students involved in The Bird's Nest, with director Karen Freberg (center).

UofL’s College of Arts & Sciences and the Department of Communication have launched “The Bird’s Nest,” a full-service, student-run agency focused on strategic communications.

The agency will offer a variety of services for clients — UofL colleges, schools or departments — in social media, branding, video production, event planning, public relations, digital content, research, advertising and influencer marketing. The Bird’s Nest will charge a modest fee for services negotiated between the agency and the client. All fees will be used to support student initiatives such as supplies, professional development, scholarships, conferences and student work.

Students from any college within UofL can participate in the Bird’s Nest, which began as an idea in 2019 from Karen Freberg, professor in Strategic Communication, and Al Futrell, department chair, both in the Department of Communication, and Joey Wagner, owner of the JWagner Group and chair of the board of advisors for the Bird’s Nest.

“The Bird’s Nest exemplifies the value of a liberal arts education,” said Arts & Sciences Interim Dean David Owen. “While students are discovering new knowledge and understanding inside the classroom, they are also acquiring real-world experience outside the classroom, with the potential to transform lives and society. Further, I am committed to making the Bird’s Nest a campus-wide learning opportunity for the entire UofL student community.”

In addition to Wagner, professionals from businesses around Louisville will form the student agency’s board of advisors. Some of the largest global brands are already represented on board, including Churchill Downs, Onyx + Rose, Starbucks, Brown-Forman, Blitzmetrics, adidas, UofL Athletics and more.

“This is going to be a game changer for not only students enrolled at the University of Louisville, but the entire community,” said Freberg, who is also serving as the director of the agency. “The Bird’s Nest will empower students to gain marketable skills that are aligned with the industry through engaged learning and professional opportunities with the community.”

Hailee Andrews, a senior communications major and director of content for The Bird’s Nest, said the experience has so far been rewarding and “almost surreal to see all of our hard work finally come to life.” 

“I am excited to challenge my creativity and learn from some of the best. The community surrounding The Bird’s Nest is developing into something that is going to help like-minded individuals in our generation reach their greatest potential,” Andrews said. 

Sydney Baker, a communications graduate student and director of strategy, said having the opportunity to gain agency experience and work with real clients will “undeniably contribute to my success as a professional post-graduation.” 

“This will further drive student-success by providing a space for students to be creative and gain meaningful experience in our fields that will help jumpstart our careers. I’m very grateful to Dr. Freberg, the other directors and advisors for all their hard work in creating a solid foundation for The Bird’s Nest. I am so proud of what The Bird’s Nest represents and can’t wait to see what this program brings to our community,” added Zaire Robinson, marketing senior and director of Communication.

“Being a part of The Bird’s Nest has pushed me above and beyond what I thought I could do,” said Jacey Wells, a sophomore communications major and director of outreach. “We are so excited to welcome the University of Louisville community and I can’t wait to see where the future takes us.” 

The Bird’s Nest is launching its services this semester, along with a fundraising campaign  to modernize the physical space (Strickler Hall rooms 107 and 111) that will house the agency.

For more information and inquiries about The Bird’s Nest, contact the leadership team at Follow along on social by connecting with The Bird’s Nest on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok and LinkedIn at @thebirdsnestlou.