TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — A team of students from The University of Alabama’s College of Communication and Information Sciences will present a comprehensive public relations plan to raise awareness of the Student Veterans of America organization at the 2016 Bateman Case Study Competition. UA’s team is one of three finalists presenting at the Public Relations Student Society of America’s premier national case study competition on Wednesday, May 18, in Chicago.
This year’s team partnered with the UA Campus Veterans Association to create the “In the Chair” campaign. Whether getting to know student veterans seated next to traditional students in class, advocating for priority registration so campus veterans can get a seat in the classes they need to graduate, or honoring prisoners of war and those missing in action with an empty chair at campus sporting events as a reminder of their service, the chair served as a campaign theme. The Bateman team posted photos student veterans and other campus community members sitting in the chair talking about how the military has affected their lives. The stories were posted on the campaign website and social media.
“Every experiential learning opportunity provides great teaching to students, but this project was special because of the topic,” said Teri Henley, faculty adviser for the Bateman team. “Campus Veterans are a diversity group that is so often overlooked. And with more than 1,000 campus veterans at The University of Alabama, this campaign opened the entire campus’s eyes to a previously invisible issue. We not only focused in the veterans themselves, but on how everyone has a connection to a veteran.”
PRSSA headquarters received 70 entries for the 2016 Bateman Case Study Competition. Of those submissions, 16 entries received honorable mention and three were chosen as finalists to present their campaigns to a panel of judges. UA students will compete against Loyola University New Orleans and Samford University. The competition is designed to give students the opportunity to apply their classroom education and industry experience to create and implement a full public relations campaign.
“Participating in the Bateman Case Study Competition was one of the best experiences to prepare me for a career,” said Samantha Vlahos, a member of the 2016 Bateman team. “Not only are you able to work on a campaign from start to finish, but you learn to adapt to the ever-changing public relations landscape, and how to properly interact with clients, teammates and key publics. Working alongside the Campus Veterans Association and connecting our campus through the ‘In The Chair’ campaign has exceeded every expectation our team set.”
The team of five includes Madalyn Atherton (Huntsville), Christina Coleman (Westlake, California), Torrie Miers (Milton, Georgia), Samantha Vlahos (Monroe, Connecticut) and Megan Wolf (Windermere, Florida).
The University of Alabama, the state’s oldest and largest public institution of higher education, is a student-centered research university that draws the best and brightest to an academic community committed to providing a premier undergraduate and graduate education. UA is dedicated to achieving excellence in scholarship, collaboration and intellectual engagement; providing public outreach and service to the state of Alabama and the nation; and nurturing a campus environment that fosters collegiality, respect and inclusivity.