Penn State Public Relations Students Raise Lymphoma Awareness for Bateman Case Study Contest | University Park Campus News


Penn State students from Tara Wyckoff’s senior public relations campaigns capstone course — COMM 473 — worked to compete in the Bateman National Case Study Competition run by the Public Relations Student Society of America at the end of March.

The Bateman Competition is aimed at college-level public relations students and is designed to provide “an opportunity to apply your classroom training and internship experiences to create and implement a comprehensive public relations campaign,” according to its website.

For this year’s competition, PRSSA has selected the Lymphoma Research Foundation as a universal client for all competing groups to build their campaigns. LRF’s mission “is to eradicate lymphoma and serve those affected by this blood cancer,” according to its website.

To enroll in the course, students had to complete an application, and Wyckoff, assistant professor of advertising and public relations at the Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications, explained that the selection process was aimed at identifying students with notable experiences. previous.

“From the start of the course, you got down to business,” Wyckoff said. “I knew I needed students who came to me with some PR experience, so I was really looking for – not just for courses, but experience either in student organizations as leaders or possibly in internships.”

Following the application process, Wyckoff said 15 Penn State public relations students were selected to attend her class, and she then put them into groups for the Bateman competition.

“After the students were selected, I asked them to self-identify what they thought was their greatest public relations strength,” Wyckoff said. “I really wanted to make sure we had cross-functional teams.”

Old Main was used to promote a student campaign focused on the Lymphoma Research Foundation for the Bateman National Case Study Competition.

One of the class teams is comprised of students Tyler Dornan, Ethan Harris, Riley Snowden, Eric Yang, and Kalli Curtiss, and they created a campaign for LRF designed to raise awareness across the Penn State University Park campus.

“Our goal is to reach 5% of Penn State’s population by raising LRF awareness,” said Snowden (senior public relations). “We’ve done that through some PR stunts and events that we’ve had – like presenting events in the [HUB-Robeson Center].”

The team’s first drop-in event was held on Valentine’s Day, themed “No love for lymphoma,” where members handed out goody bags and QR codes for Instagram pages. and TikTok.

Besides the filing, the team based their campaign on the “Erase Lymphoma” campaign launched by LRF in 2014, which was designed to raise awareness and offer support directly to adolescents and young adults with lymphoma. and to survivors.

The team created its own hashtag – #dontletiteraseyou – to help the campaign resonate with Penn State students as they pursued public relations stunts like “erasing” landmarks around campus, said Dornan (junior public relations).

“We cover the Lion Shrine with a sheet, then we covered the paws at the Palmer Art Museum and also the globe at Old Main,” Dornan said. “People would come up to us and say, ‘What are you doing?’ And we were talking about that we don’t want lymphoma to erase you – it erases those landmarks, and that was kind of our main theme.

The team said it has already exceeded its goal of reaching 5% of the University Park campus population, which equates to just over 2,000 people, reaching over 3,000 people through Instagram interactions, Snowden said.

“That’s the goal of all events, so we can get as many eyes on our campaign – 99% of the time someone was watching,” Dornan said.

For overall impressions, the team reached more than 6,000 as of March 3, Snowden said.

“In fact, cars stopped when we were at the Lion Sanctuary to cover it, and they were like, ‘What are you doing? They took out their phones and they were taking pictures,” said Harris (public relations manager). “A couple came up to us and they said, ‘We thought you were students from Ohio State. They thought we were from another school covering the sanctuary.

The students not only captured the attention of their audience, but they also captured the attention of their teacher.

“This team wasted no time getting started,” Wyckoff said. “They had a strong, creative idea, which was to really focus on the word ‘erase’ and tap into some of the visual cues and how they can relate to communication.”

Wyckoff said she considers the “erasing” of landmarks around campus to be “beyond a publicity stunt” and “a really curious and creative way to capture people’s attention.”

The team said its two-pronged approach involves not only educating the university population about lymphoma, but also raising awareness and recognition for Penn State through the Bateman Competition.

“I think I speak for all of us in that we really want to educate people about lymphoma,” Harris said. “There are 90,000 people diagnosed with lymphoma each year.”

Palmer Art Museum sheet

The Palmer Art Museum was used to promote a Lymphoma Research Foundation-focused student campaign for the Bateman National Case Study Competition.

According to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, approximately 90,390 people in the United States were expected to be diagnosed with lymphoma in 2021. In the United States, approximately 825,651 people are living with lymphoma or in remission, according to the society.

Lymphoma may specifically affect Penn State students and other college students, as the adolescent and young adult age group spans 15 to 39, and one in five cancer diagnoses among AYAs is an AYA diagnosis. of lymphoma.

“It’s really important to talk about the AYAs specifically because they’re such an understudied group,” Snowden said. “People think, ‘That’s not going to happen to me,’ which is why we’re such an understudied community.”

The demands of the team’s campaign schedule in the weeks following THON is another reason Wyckoff said she believes in its overall importance.

“I think Penn State can benefit from expanding this conversation about the many ways our students come together to help really important causes that can bridge the gap between student interest, passion, fundraising fund and science,” Wyckoff said.

The second importance of the campaign will be the Bateman contest itself, Wyckoff said.

“This is a national contest, and the winners in the PR world are known and recognized,” Wyckoff said. “I think anytime our students can shine and get national recognition for their hard work and compete with our peers as well as communication schools across the country, that’s a good thing.”

Dornan, Harris, Snowden, Yang and Curtiss will submit their campaign, along with the other Wyckoff class groups, to the Bateman competition at the end of March.

“Even if we make the top three or get an honorable mention, it gives the university the accreditation of having a winner of the Bateman competition,” Harris said. “A side of us is really passionate about lymphoma awareness, but we’re also competing for Penn State to win national school recognition.”


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