PRSSA students
compete in Bateman


Five Elon students from Elon's newly formed chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America spent most of the year preparing a campaign to educate high school and college students about credit. This campaign was part of the PRSSA national Bateman Case Study Competition, a prestigious and highly competitive contest.

The team, which included senior corporate communications and broadcast major Lindsey Bradshaw and junior communications majors Stephanie Chanpimol, Ellis Harman, Steve Sposato and Amanda Stokes, was advised by John Guiniven, associate professor of communications.

Elon's chapter of PRSSA was started in the fall, so this was Elon's first Bateman entry. The Bateman competition, now in its 31st year, is a way for college students to get real-world experience in the world of public relations. Every year, a new "client" is selected, and teams from schools across the nation put together campaigns to promote that product or client.

This year's client was a bit different from those of years past. Ford Motor Credit was the sponsor of this year's competition, and teams were asked to come up with unique, innovative ways Ford Motor Company could take on the road to educate high school- and college-aged students about the pitfalls and benefits of maintaining good credit.

The teams received their assignment in mid-October, and could implement their campaigns throughout the month of February. Teams had to turn in a report to the PRSSA judging panel by March 26.

Elon's team took a novel approach to the idea of educating students about credit. After conducting several focus groups, the team decided to create a "Credit Counts!" Web site students could access to find information about how to get good credit, how to get rid of bad credit and the benefits of credit. To entice students to the site, a "Game of Life" was created that allowed students to interact with the site, making credit decisions and seeing how their choices would impact their lives. Students who visited the site and played the game could enter their names to win prizes, such as movie passes, car wash gift certificates and dinner passes.

The students on the team also spent time promoting both credit and the Web site at events such as College Coffee and Phoenix basketball games, where they passed out quizzes for students to take. The answers to the quizzes were available on the Web site and they were announced at the basketball games.

Participating in the Bateman competition gave Elon's team members a glimpse at what a career in public relations or corporate communications entails, and all said they were surprised at the work involved in putting together a successful campaign.

"Participating in the competition was a great learning experience," said Stokes. "It allowed us to have a better understanding of what it would be like to work in a PR field, and it was great to have a chance to do some real hands-on work. It was a lot of hard work and took a lot of time, but I think now we're ready to handle the real world."

Sixty-two teams entered this year's competition, with three taking top honors and 14 teams named with honorable mentions. Though Elon's team did not place this year, Guiniven said he hopes having one team enter will encourage other students to tackle the competition next year.

The Elon team's Web site can be viewed at



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Last Modified:  5/22/04
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