UGA PR Campaigns Class Tackles Three Important Campus Issues

This past semester, student teams in Dr. Lynne Sallot’s public relations capstone campaigns course created and executed PR campaigns for three pressing issues at UGA: Texting and driving, smoking on campaign, and alcohol education. The integrated plans were driven by extensive research. Dr. Sallot is a Meigs Professor in the Department of Advertising & Public Relations at the University of Georgia.

Stop inTXTication@UGA
The first team of nine students focused on raising awareness regarding the dangers of texting and driving on the UGA campus. First, to gauge attitudes related to the issue, they conducted 17 focus groups in which 160 UGA students participated. The group also researched 37 peer and aspirational institutions and conducted face-to-face interviews with UGA and ACC Police and a College of Public Health professor who works on traffic safety issues.

Research revealed that although students are aware of the dangers of texting and driving, they continue to practice it. They also found that ads such as those produced by AT&T in which drivers’ last texts are shown were more effective than ads that are more graphic.

Based on this research, the team designed a logo and slogan- "Stop inTXTication@UGA. Save it for L8R. Don't text and drive." Also, an awareness campaign was created to be further developed and implemented by the fall PR campaigns class.

The Facebook page for the campaign can be found under Stop inTXTication@UGA.

Please watch their public service announcement.

Breathe Easy UGA
A second team concentrated on the issue of smoking on the UGA campus. They knew there had been discussion within the University and SGA of a change in the smoking policy. The team set out to discover student opinion regarding smoking on campus as well as a potential new policy presented to President Adams before the decision he would make on March 24th. The group conducted 17 focus groups of 160 UGA students, a survey of 400 students, reviewed 36 institutional research reports and interviews experts in the field.

They found a majority of students prefer a ban of some sort and that only 16% of students self-report that they smoke. Additionally, research showed most students felt they were affected by smoking on campus in some way, especially in the breezeway of the Miller Learning Center and at bus stops.

When President Adams announced the new policy that people are no longer allowed to smoke within 35 feet of building entrances or windows, bus stops, breezeways or on the new Health Sciences Campus, the team wanted to promote this.

They created the Breathe Easy UGA campaign, designing a logo and creating Facebook and Twitter accounts to spread awareness of the new policy and encourage students not to smoke in those areas.

Find the campaign on Facebook under Breathe Easy UGA.

Follow the campaign on Twitter @breatheeasyuga

Watch their public service announcements on their YouTube Channel at http://www.youtube.com/user/BreatheEasyUGA

Alcohol and Drugs
The last team had three parts to their campaign: To improve the effectiveness of alcohol education at UGA, to address the needs of the Designated Dawgs, and to improve student perception of taxi safety in Athens. In addition to 17 focus groups, the group also interviewed four Health Center representatives, several Athens-Clarke County and UGA police officers, an assistant to President Adams, a representative from the Office of Student Conduct and an attorney in UGA’s Office of Legal Affairs.

Research showed that students think the current online alcohol education program, MyStudentBody, was not as effective as perceived. They also found that students have major concerns regarding taxis in Athens, including safety, inconsistency of fares, reliability and overcrowding. Finally, the team found that the major concern for Designated Dawgs was a need for volunteers.

Based on this research, the team proposes to introduce a supplemental peer-to-peer interactive program, YourID (Your Informed Decision), that will include student testimonials to better educate UGA students on alcohol. To promote awareness of safe taxi cab companies, they created a Facebook page with taxi company contact information, pictures of taxi vehicles and general news updates. The group hopes this will encourage students to use taxis to avoid drinking and driving as well as to help students identify which taxis are legitimate from those that are not. Last, the team gave social media and website suggestions to the Designated Dawgs and created a press kit for them to attract more volunteers and raise awareness for the program.

Find the Facebook page with taxi information under Athens Taxicabs

Facebook page for Designated Dawgs

No comments: