Mar. 15 1999
Washington, DC - College students across the country who are members of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) are pulling out the stops to help local youth fight tobacco on Kick Butts Day, April 14. As part of PRSSA’s prestigious Bateman Competition, these students will help plan, execute and publicize anti-tobacco events being planned by elementary, middle and high school students in their communities. Kick Butts Day makes kids into leaders and advocates in the effort to end youth tobacco use, a pediatric health epidemic. Last year, young people participated in more than 400 events in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and South Korea. This year many young advocates will be paired with local PRSSA chapter members who will help them carry out and publicize a variety of activities, including mock trials and funerals for Mr. Butts and the Marlboro Man, undercover buying operations, and rallies in schools, communities and state capitals. "This is an excellent opportunity for PRSSA members to improve the health of future generations while gaining real-life, public relations experience," said Ray Gaulke, chief operating officer of the Public Relations Society of America, PRSSA’s parent group. "It’s a partnership that lets everyone win." More than 75 PRSSA teams will help students amplify their messages about the dangers of tobacco use and the deceptive marketing practices of the tobacco industry through innovative projects such as: ? Surveys of tobacco advertising in local stores in conjunction with a mass “dumping” of tobacco-branded merchandise in Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania; ? A rally with local VIPs at city hall in Athens, Georgia to kick off a year-long plan of anti-tobacco activities; ? A gathering of 12,000 middle school students in the University of Florida’s domed stadium that will include a variety of anti-tobacco styled entertainment and an entire wall with a pledge to be tobacco free for students to sign; and ? A specialized CD-ROM that educates kids about tobacco and encourages them to write letters to state officials about underage tobacco use produced by University of Northern Iowa members. "Kids are the best spokespersons in the battle to end youth tobacco use," said Bill Novelli, president of the CAMPAIGN FOR TOBACCO-FREE KIDS, which co-founded Kick Butts Day. "PRSSA teams will give young advocates the help they need to make sure their events are effective and their voices are heard." PRSSA teams will be judged on their communications plans and execution of their events as well as their success in gaining publicity for their clients. Representatives from the finalist chapters will be invited to Washington, D.C. in May to present their entries to a panel of judges, including members of the media and prominent public relations professionals. The winning PRSSA teams will receive a total of $5,000 in prizes for the most successful Kick Butts Day events. The CAMPAIGN is the nation’s largest non-governmental initiative ever launched to protect children from tobacco addiction and exposure to second-hand smoke. For more information on the 1999 Bateman-PRSSA Case Study Competition or on Kick Butts Day, please contact the CAMPAIGN at 202-296-5469 or visit its web site at www.tobaccofreekids.org.