Prior to finals week, four students developed a public relations campaign in collaboration with Counseling Services to spread civility and positivity throughout campus.
In a public relations campaigns class instructed by Jeanette Drake, Ph.D., associate professor of communications, students were split into teams and worked with clients to implement public relations campaigns. The students managed the projects from research to implementation to evaluation.
“In the planning stages of our campaign, we chose to address the topic of civility because of what we noticed around campus. Bullying in residence halls was a concern to us,” said Sierra Heaton, sophomore animal science and public relations major. “This was something we wanted to change into promoting positive behaviors with the thought of passing on random acts of kindness and respect to others, instead of engaging in uncivil behaviors.”
After conducting research, the team found that uncivil behavior should be addressed on campus due to the amount of bullying occurring among residents in on-campus housing. The team’s goal was to encourage a culture of civility on campus.
“To address civility, we promoted 25 rules of civility throughout campus,” said Lauren Brassfield, junior public relations major. “Our team launched a Twitter page to share a rule of civility each day and encourage positivity; hung posters and a banner; and held two special events.”
The first event was to kick off the campaign. The students passed out bundles of suckers with a label sharing a rule of civility. The students receiving the suckers were encouraged to keep one and pass the others on.
“At the end of our campaign, we held an event for students, faculty and staff to pledge for civility by signing a banner,” said Brassfield. “We also gave out T-shirts to promote the campaign. By the end of the event, 165 signatures were on the banner.”
The class project not only gave students hands-on experience with real challenges, but it also benefited the greater campus community.
“This campaign benefits the campus by promoting overall positive welfare at UF,” said Olysse Elkins, senior marketing major. “Sometimes we get caught up in other factors that may or may not have a positive effect on our lives, and this was a little reminder to keep us all in positive spirits.”