Five public relations students from the University of Georgia won first place in the national Bateman Case Study Competition in Washington, D.C. on May 14th.
The team included account executive Kristin Ballard from Atlanta; Courtney Garmhaus, Litchfield, Mich.; Debbie Ebalobo, Masinloc, Zambales, Philippines; Magan Cowart, Milledgeville; and Bridgett Johnson, Brunswick. The UGA team was advised by Kaye D. Sweetser, assistant professor of public relations.
The competition, sponsored by the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA), uses a single national client. The 2010 client was the U.S. Census. Student teams from college campuses across the nation compete to create the ultimate public relations campaign for the client. The UGA Bateman team competed against 67 other schools this year, and was selected as one of three finalist teams to present to client and PRSSA representatives in Washington, D.C.
Working since fall 2009, the public relations students created a hyper-local, grassroots campaign to promote the 2010 U.S. Census in the local Athens community.
The UGA Bateman team's iCount campaign focused on the student population at UGA, as well as the hard-to-count populations within Athens such as the Latino community. Steeped in extensive scientific and rigorous research, the UGA Bateman team took a four-prong approach to increase knowledge of the Census, communicate its benefits, educate the community about the new short-form and increase likelihood of participation.
The Bateman team credits their Grady coursework with preparing them for this ultimate public relations campaign experience.
"I used parts of every single Grady class I've ever taken in the Bateman campaign," said Garmhaus. "We did primary research that I learned in PR Research, writing tactics I learned in PR Communication and created the book with programs I learned in Graphics. Without my Grady education, we couldn't have created such a well-rounded, well-thought-out campaign."
The UGA Bateman team won $2,500 for first place. The prize money was presented to the college's chapter of PRSSA, to reinvest into future chapter programs.
Historically, teams from Grady College have placed well within the competition, having last won the Bateman competition in 2007, and receiving honorable mention in both 2008 and 2009.
The UGA Bateman team is sponsored by Grady's PRSSA chapter. The national Bateman case study competition began in 1973 as an avenue for PRSSA members to employ practical public relations skills and problem solving. In recent years, competition clients have included organizations such as Ford Motor Credit Company, Nutella and Habitat for Humanity. (Story adapted from Grady College wesbsite)