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Students mobilize to combat local bullying with PR campaign


Five OHIO students are planning and implementing a local campaign to combat bullying amongst adolescents as a part of the annual Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) Bateman Case Study Competition.

The five-student team is composed of Scripps PRSSA members that were selected through a competitive application process. The team has organized a large-scale campaign that will be implemented throughout February 2013: Reach Out for Friendship.

The first event of the campaign will take place at noon, Saturday, Feb. 9, as the team invites Ohio University students and their visiting siblings to reach out for friendship by painting their handprint on the notorious graffiti wall.

According to facts dispersed by The Bully Project, 13 million American children will be victims of bullying this year. Studies conducted by the National Education Association found that six of 10 American teens witness bullying once a day. Reach Out for Friendship aims to fight the harmful effects of youth bullying by increasing awareness and offering the alternative of friendship.

The project will keep its philanthropic promise local, as Scripps PRSSA continues to seek out schools within the Athens City School District to partner with.

"Many PR students are interested in using their skills to make a change, and the Bateman competition gives us the opportunity to do so," Nicole Spears, Scripps PRSSA Bateman Team Leader, said. "This competition is the perfect opportunity to practice and display our professional talents, while aiding a cause that we have a great passion for."

Last year the PRSSA Bateman Case Study Competition partnered with United Way and challenged participants to implement a campaign to combat childhood obesity. Competition winner Loyola University New Orleans activated their community and designed a campaign that was adopted by six schools, two businesses, and two United Way agencies in the New Orleans area. Following this example, and with the use of creative and strategic communications tactics, the Scripps PRSSA team is ready to install a lasting change in the Athens community.