Project promotes sense of community, engagement
Published: Sunday, February 5, 2012
Updated: Monday, February 6, 2012 02:02
Six West Virginia University seniors are busy preparing a campaign for the Center of Civic Engagement to bring a newfound sense of community to campus.
These students, lead by Assistant Professor Rita Colistra and CCE Operations Coordinator Brett White, will research, plan and implement a public relations campaign for the CCE.
"Our goals of the campaign are to promote awareness of community service and community engagement on campus as well as to increase volunteers especially with their involvement with the Week of Engagement, which is something the CCE does every year," said Katlin Stinespring, senior public relations student and account executive for the campaign.
The CCE was established in the spring of 2006 at WVU to help promote volunteer work and service learning, and it strives to bridge the gap between the University and the community at local, national and global levels.
This program allows public relations students to get a feel for what it's like to work in the real world, while at the same time promoting a positive local cause.
Students research and analyze past media coverage of CCE events and examine the use of new media and social networking, Stinespring said.
"Once we have our research conducted, we will be working directly with our client to develop different strategies and tactics to promote each event. We'll be assisting with all of that leading up to the Week of Engagement," she said.
Colistra said she is already proud of her team.
"I've already got them working so hard. They've got their own client, they have a team and they've applied for their positions," Colistra said. "They meet with their client, ask questions, figure out what the client wants and then work to reach those goals."
The team also includes two public relations directors, Adriane Herlihy and Julie Hildenbrand; Creative Director Jared Lathrop; and two research directors, Alexa Hadfield and Jill Necessary.
"I think this campaign will not only draw more awareness to the CCE to show that they exist, but also change people's attitudes toward it and not just have the negative image that it's for assigned community service when students do something wrong," Colistra said.
Colistra said she enjoys having the opportunity to do something positive while teaching students the professional skills they need.
"I love teaching service learning in my courses because it's more valuable to the students, and you're giving back to the community and the state by providing a service and helping non-profits out who don't have the hands or expertise to do these things," she said.
For Stinespring, it's not only the experience that's the most rewarding part of the project, but the way in which they get to give back to the University.
"It's definitely worthwhile because not only are we gaining professional experience in working with a team and a real client, but we are all really looking forward to working with the WVU community and being a part of something that helps promote a positive image of WVU," she said.
For more information or to get involved with the CCE, visit www.cce.wvu.edu.
"This is helping engage the student body within the Morgantown community and is a way of connecting Morgantown and the University" Stinespring said.