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In the Spotlight (from current Bradley University website)
Voter Drive Wins Ebeling PR-ize
From left to right: Chuck Ebeling ’66; seniors Taylor Fisher, Molly Geraghty, Camille Ivy-O’Donnell; Dr. Ron Koperski. Not pictured is senior Morgan Kotars, the winning team’s fourth member.
By Frank Radosevich II
December 14, 2012
Getting high school seniors interested in voting can be none too easy. But it’s an important task that four Bradley seniors tackled this election year with a public relations campaign that drove home the importance of elections to young voters.
The public relation majors—Taylor Fisher, Molly Geraghty, Morgan Kotars and Camille Ivy-O’Donnell—partnered with staff at Peoria Heights High School and Russell’s Cycling and Fitness in Washington, Ill., to organize events for the senior class at the high school on voter literacy and politics.
Their campaign, called “Momentum: The Voting Cycle,” hosted speakers at the high school, ran a mock election, created a voting resource website, had the high school seniors teach younger students about voting and ended with a Tour de Vote trivia race, which celebrated the right to vote with activities and physical fitness.
“It was a different way to teach them and I think students will always respond well to something different,” said Ivy-O’Donnell, who also majors in political science. “We did make it fun.”
Besides increasing voter awareness, their campaign scored another victory when it received the Ebeling PR-ize, awarded to the top senior public relations campaign in the Communication 480 class.
The award was established in 2004 by alumnus and Bradley Centurion Chuck Ebeling ’66 and Dr. Ron Koperski, a professor in the Department of Communication, and challenges seniors to design and implement a public relations campaign centered on a key social issue.
Dr. Koperski, who taught the capstone public relations course, said students gain valuable experience working as a real-life public relations agency.
“The process that they are learning to apply to their campaign is exactly what is done in the real world of public relations,” Dr. Koperski said, noting students follow the same campaign guidelines established by the Public Relations Society of America. “They are learning how to make persuasive cases for ideas and that’s something they’ll have to do out in the real world.”
The semester-long assignment integrates all the skills the students have acquired in their communications curricula and is sponsored Ebeling, who worked in public relations with several major agencies and national corporations before retiring from McDonald’s Corp. as chief spokesman and vice president of corporate communications.
“I feel like I am one step ahead of my peers from other schools,” Geraghty, who is interested in working in corporate public relations, said of the experience. “All of us were able to implement what we learned in class into our real lives.”
We live in an era where big business may begin to take a backseat to local enterprise, and that is certainly the case wherever farmer’s markets have arisen, bringing fresh, locally-grown produce to the tables of appreciative cooks. A “locavore” is someone who appreciates and purchases such food. It was the “word of the year” in 2007, yet is still being discovered today. The team of senior college public relations majors who won the 17th Ebeling PR-ize for cause-related communications yesterday at Bradley University beat six other excellent teams to win the award, presented at the Mark Twain hotel near Peoria’s famous waterfront, soon to become the home of the #100 million new Peoria Riverfront Museum and the $37 million Catepillar visitor’s center. The PR-ize program, created by Bradley alumni Chuck Ebeling, challenges student teams to bring together all of the PR skills they have learned in a real, pro-bono joint project for the benefit of a local for-profit and a not-for-profit organization, demonstrating that it is possible to do well and do good in our modern society. The student work is on a par with that of a professional public relations agency or department.
A creative, six-person student communications campaign to stimulate patronage of local businesses was the winner last night of the 7th annual Ebeling PR-ize for excellence at Loyola University Chicago. Titled, “Unwrap Chicago: Eat, Drink, Buy Local,” the campaign supported small neighborhood businesses. The online program informed the public across Chicago about values at local shops by encouraging people to make a pledge to spend at least $100 with local businesses over the holiday shopping period. 500 people took the pledge, and ABC-TV news covered the event, which included a street rally handing out fliers that looked like $100 bills. The award was made at a gala reception students, faculty and guests in the Advertising and Public Relations curriculum at Loyola’s Water Tower downtown campus.
I established this prize program to recognize the high level, pro bono professional communications work that is being done by student teams for the benefit of local businesses and not-for-profit organizations through the outstanding capstone courses in public relations at Loyola and Bradley.
With just over 3% women represented in the Fortune 500 CEO ranks, even in 2011, the issue of the “glass ceiling” and the need for female empowerment remains as strong as ever. This fall, a Bradley University public relations student team calling itself Inner Voice Public Relations took on the challenge of bringing new resources and focus to the issue, bringing together a local counseling company and girls of Peoria Heights High School in a dynamic training program they created, they named “Dare to Be.”
The pro-bono “Dare to Be” team became the 16th group of award recipients of the Ebeling PR-ize for cause-related communications at Bradley. The winning team consisted of Jamie Herring of Metamora, IL , Emily Bowe of Cicero, New York, and intriguingly, a male member, Shane Snyder of Edwards, IL. All were graduating seniors in the capstone PR program directed by Dr. Ron Koperski of Bradley’s Slane College of Communications and Fine Arts. The winning team was feted at an awards luncheon hosted by the program creator/sponsor, Charles Ebeling, a 1966 Bradley journalism grad, and the winners each received a letter of commendation and a cash prize. Each semester at Bradley, student “agencies” select a local business and a local not-for-profit and team them in a professional cause-related communications program they create and implement, seeking real, measurable public relations results.
Ebeling supports a similar Ebeling PR-ize program recognizing achievement in cause-related communications he created at Loyola University Chicago.
On Friday the 14th, the 13th Ebeling PR-ize winning student team at Bradley University in Peoria, Il was announced. The winning campaign is called Shape Up the Earth, and is a recycling awareness campaign involving the Greater Peoria YMCA and Eagle Enterprises Recycling, Inc.
|The following story ran in today’s Peoria Journal Star newspaper after a teleconference I did yesterday with PR undergrads studying crisis communications at Bradley University’s Global Communications Center, in a program led by Bradley’s Dr. Ron Koperski.|
|P.R. veteran: Toyota mishandled recall – Peoria, IL – pjstar.com