The strategic communications and sociology double major was recognized on April 27 during a virtual awards gala presented by PRNEWS.
For four years Natalie Green ’21 has been a visible, vocal leader in the School of Communications and across Elon University’s campus. Her efforts to support students of color and LGBTQ individuals while also promoting diversity and inclusion initiatives earned her national recognition last week at the 2021 CSR & Diversity Virtual Awards Gala presented by PRNEWS.
The strategic communications and sociology double major received the event’s Undergraduate Student of the Year Award for her contributions to better her community and the global community. The graduating senior has been instrumental in the formation and leadership of the school’s Unity in Communications initiative, a student-run program that organizes lectures, discussions and special activities centered around enhancing diversity and inclusion in the communications and sport management industries.
An Odyssey Program scholar and Communications Fellow, Green has had an impressive undergraduate career, completing a National Association of Broadcasters Media Sales Fellowship and interning remotely for Warner Media, where she focused on improving CNN’s relationship with Black-owned businesses. She landed the role thanks to the T. Howard Foundation, and she has since helped mentor other students through the application process. Additionally, Green is an active member of PRSSA, Elon’s Black Student Union and the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority
Genevieve Barnes, program assistant in the School of Communications and adviser of Unity in Communications, commended Green for her many accomplishments and called the senior “brilliant, talented and engaged.”
“She is incredibly supportive of everyone and champions diversity, equity and inclusion,” Barnes said.
Barnes noted that Green has utilized her own experiences and expertise to help develop student programming and encourage other student leaders. “Natalie is an excellent asset to the School of Communications, conveying quality ideas by recommending high-profile speakers who have served as role models and experienced professionals engaged in meaningful work related to communications and sport management,” she added.
Green said she was honored to be recognized for her achievements at Elon, and hopes others across the campus – and all campuses – continue to encourage DEI initiatives that “transform the support students of color feel on their campuses and as young professionals in the workforce.”
“My proudest accomplishment at Elon is helping the Unity in Communications student initiative grow into what it is today, and provide a framework for what it could look like for students to participate in the future,” Green said. “I am proud of this accomplishment because it provides an opportunity for students of color in the School of Communications to develop on their personal and professional journeys, have a safe space to express stories and experiences that are meaningful to them, and collaborate with other POC students outside of their major to produce media that speaks to these experiences.”
Green recalled that she applied to the T. Howard Foundation after hearing about the program multiple times through Unity in Communications events, one of which included a T. Howard representative talking through the application process with attendees. She credits that access for preparing her and encouraging her.
Prior to the awards gala, Green participated in a virtual panel discussion, titled “Young Voices: What the Industry’s Rising Stars Want You to Know.” During the conversation, she outlined ways that executives in the PR field can recruit and retain diverse talent.
“One of the major points I made to the executives was that if you want to see your organization advance and development, you need to think of DEI as another investment,” she said. “It is just as important of an investment to grow your business as facilities or even marketing.”
Green was one of six candidates competing for this spring’s Undergraduate Student of the Year Award. The other honorees hail from American University, Ithaca College, the University at Albany, the University of Florida and Washington State University.