College Students Take a Stand Against Tobacco

Teams Compete for Top Honors

May. 24 1999

Washington, DC - College students from Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) chapters across the country helped kids fight Big Tobacco this spring as part of PRSSA’s Bateman Case Study Competition, an annual contest that tests students’ ability to apply communications theories to real-life situations. Three finalist teams, selected from more than 45 entrants, presented their communications programs to a panel of distinguished judges on May 21 at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. The PRSSA chapter of California State University, Long Beach took top honors with second place being awarded to the University of Georgia and third place to the University of Florida. Bateman Competition entrants developed integrated communications programs to help kids in their communities implement and publicize anti-tobacco activities as part of Kick Butts Day, an annual initiative that helps kids become leaders and advocates in the battle against tobacco. Kick Butts Day, sponsored by the Washington, DC-based CAMPAIGN FOR TOBACCO-FREE KIDS (CAMPAIGN), grew threefold this year, with tens of thousands of young people carrying out more than 1,200 events in every state in the nation and overseas. “Kick Butts Day has grown each year as more and more kids take a stand against tobacco,” said Bill Novelli, president of the CAMPAIGN. “PRSSA teams’ efforts to help young people publicize their anti-tobacco work significantly increased visibility of the day this year.” California State University (CSU), Long Beach’s winning entry leveraged their community’s love of auto racing to turn the tables on Big Tobacco. Working with local kids and community organizations, the CSU team took their strong anti-tobacco message to the race track to combat the effect of the tobacco companies’ unyielding presence at sporting events. Their program, which garnered more than one million media impressions, was a great success and prompted more than 2,000 students to sign pledges to be tobacco-free for life. “The Bateman Competition helped us hone our public relations skills and advance a really important issue,” said Kristi Brezden of CSU, Long Beach. “We’re thrilled to have been selected as the national winners.” “All the teams did a tremendous job helping kids fight tobacco and we want to congratulate each of our finalists for their efforts,” said Ray Gaulke, president of the Public Relations Society of America. “The CSU’s team use of a range of public relations tactics not only effectively communicated the message but also energized kids to stay tobacco-free in the future.” PRSSA awarded the first place team a cash prize of $2,500, the second place team $1,500 and the third place team $1,000. The CAMPAIGN presented all finalists with engraved plaques to display at their schools. PRSSA established a National Case Study Competition in 1973, which was re-named the Bateman Case Study Competition in 1983, to challenge and test public relations students’ analytical skills and judgement in their field. Case study problems have included situations dealing with nuclear energy, employee health protection, the environment and special interest conflicts. The competition for the CAMPAIGN’s Kick Butts Day initiative was the first time PRSSA students actually implemented their programs in a real-life test of their communications plans. The Washington, DC-based CAMPAIGN FOR TOBACCO-FREE KIDS is the largest initiative ever undertaken to decrease youth tobacco use in the United States. Its mandate is to focus the nation’s attention and action on keeping tobacco marketing from seducing children and making tobacco less accessible to kids. For more information about Kick Butts Day and youth tobacco control advocacy, e-mail the CAMPAIGN at kickbutts@tobaccofreekids.org

 

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