For the first time, a team of Kent State University students will compete as finalists in the Public Relations Student Society of America's annual Bateman case study competition.
The Bateman competition requires students to create, implement and evaluate a public relations plan for a real client. For the 2013 competition, students were given the task of creating an anti-bullying campaign and implementing it in a local school.
Out of 68 teams from across the country that submitted entries, PRSSA judges chose Kent State’s “Blue” team as one of three national finalists. Kent State Blue will present its campaign via Skype May 10 to a second panel of judges, who will then determine the final three placements.
KSU Blue team members are:
“We really didn't have a set goal in our minds that we'd make it to nationals,” Potts said. “We just wanted to do well and make a difference along the way.”
Erin Orsini, a 2011 KSU public relations graduate and associate at True Digital Communications in Cleveland, served as professional advisor for KSU Blue. Tim Roberts, a lecturer and interim graduate coordinator for the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, served as faculty advisor for the team.
“The Bateman competition’s rules restrict the role of advisors, so being named a finalist is a testament to the creativity and hard work put forth by these five students,” Roberts said. “They developed and implemented an outstanding campaign that got results and, obviously, impressed the PRSSA judges.”
Teams were given three months to research the topic, create a plan, implement the plan, evaluate the plan, and create a casebook. KSU Blue implemented its plan at Rootstown Middle School.
“The PRSSA Bateman Case Study Competition is extremely demanding and requires the utmost amount of commitment, so it is truly rewarding to see Kent State Blue's hard work pay off,” Orsini said. “The entire team has put countless hours into this campaign and has learned how to provide effective solutions for the challenge at hand for which they deserve this great
The team chose to emphasize the role of a bystander in a bullying situation and provided students with several techniques they could utilize if they witnessed a bullying situation.
To help students understand the role of a bystander, the team created stickers listing proactive bystander techniques and passed them out to students. The team also held an art contest for students to participate in where students were required to draw a bullying situation with a bystander intervening.
Group members said they thought their focus on the bystander role might have been what set them apart from other groups. The team’s research revealed that bystanders can effectively diffuse bullying situations.
Another aspect the Blue Team members thought helped elevate the cohesiveness of their plan was the closeness of the group.
“The key to our team was how well we were able to work together as a group,” Sager said. “Before Bateman, I didn't know any of the other students on my team, but it didn't take long for us all to become good friends.”
The Kent State Blue Team members said they hadn’t expected to place in the finals, so the news came as quite a shock.
“I was sitting in the Franklin Hall lobby when I first heard the news, and I was so shocked,” Potts said. “I literally could not stop shaking with excitement.”
Orsini said national finalist status is not just an honor for the team.
“Being named a Bateman competition finalist is not only a great achievement for each member of Kent State Blue but also for the entire PR Kent family,” Orsini said.