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Tuscarawas News Detail

Honors Students Tackle Area Childhood Obesity in National Competition

Posted Feb. 13, 2012

Lisa Gulasy, Taylor Titus, Ryan Collins, Jenna Hedman and Christine Morgan comprise PRKent Bateman, a team representing the university in a national public relations competition.

Lisa Gulasy, Taylor Titus, Ryan Collins, Jenna Hedman and Christine Morgan comprise PRKent Bateman, a team representing the university in a national public relations competition.

Kent, Ohio (February 13, 2011)- Honors students Ryan Collins, Lisa Gulasy and Jenna Hedman, along with peers Christine Morgan and Taylor Titus, are tackling childhood obesity in Portage County as part of the Public Relations Student Society of America’s (PRSSA) Bateman Case Study Competition.

The Bateman Case Study Competition is a national competition that gives public relations students the opportunity to apply classroom knowledge to professional experience by challenging participants to research, design, implement and evaluate a full public relations campaign for an actual client. The 2012 Bateman Competition client-of-record is the United Way Worldwide, and the sponsor is General Mills.

According to the Competition’s Project Brief, “The objective of the 2012 Bateman Case Study Competition is to encourage children, teenagers, parents, educators and community organizations to improve their individual health and the health of their community.” The United Way Worldwide expects competing teams to develop a measurable, scalable, replicable and sustainable campaign to ultimately decrease skyrocketing national childhood obesity rates.

“Childhood obesity has tripled in the past 30 years,” said Senior Honors Student Lisa Gulasy. “Today, one in three children is obese. The United Way Worldwide provided us the opportunity to change that through the 2012 Bateman Competition.”

Bateman Competition Advisor Michele E. Ewing and Kent State public relations faculty specially selected Gulasy and her teammates to comprise PRKent Bateman, the Kent State University Bateman Competition team. PRKent Bateman is responsible for partnering with community organizations and recruiting other Kent State students to assist in campaign execution.

 “The Bateman Case Study Competition is rigorous, but I’m learning skills that will benefit me as a future public relations professional,” said Senior Honors Student Ryan Collins. “It’s also giving me a greater opportunity to give back. Honors students are known for going above and beyond. I see the Bateman Competition as another way I can help Portage County, my adopted home.”

PRKent Bateman began work on the project last semester by conducting thorough primary and secondary research. PRKent Bateman launched its campaign early February.

“Researching the issue was a lot of work,” said Senior Honors Student Jenna Hedman. “Campaign implementation is difficult, too, but actually seeing how tactics we designed are positively affecting community members by changing how they think about health makes the hard work worth it.”

PRKent Bateman will submit four campaign casebooks outlining the team’s research, campaign theme and logistics and campaign implementation and evaluation to PRSSA Headquarters before March 29. PRSSA National will then select three finalist teams to present their campaign plans to judges in May. The winning team will receive $2,500 for their PRSSA chapter and a trophy. PRKent Bateman will know if it’s one of the finalist teams April 23.

“It would be great to win and possibly see our ideas implemented on a national scale,” Hedman said.

Gulasy agreed, but added that participating in the Bateman Competition isn’t ultimately about winning for PRKent Bateman.

“Yes, this is a competition, but I don’t think any of us are concerned with that detail just yet,” she said. “We’re not focused on winning; we’re focused on gaining invaluable public relations experience and educating our neighbors about little steps they can take toward a healthier lifestyle.”