Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Chapman University PR Students Help Orange County Count in U.S. Census

Everyone counts. It's not a cliche for the U.S. Census Bureau because it's worth $400 billion in federal funding for local communities. Two student teams from Chapman University's public relations program were part of the nationwide effort to boost participation in the once-in-a-decade national count.

Under the counsel of their professor Joan Gladstone, a veteran crisis communications and issues management expert from Laguna Beach, both teams at Chapman won the highly coveted national mention honors.

The five-member teams worked on the Census case study that involved the four cornerstones of effective public relations -- research, plan, implementation and evaluation -- in the rigorous two-month Bateman campaign.

I was the professional adviser to the team that helped steer a PR campaign to increase participation in the Census among their peers at Chapman, Santa Ana City College students, Santa Ana residents and transit riders with a focus on the Latino community.

The other group, advised by former OCTA intern and community relations specialist Danielle Alvarez, a Chapman graduate who now works for Boost Mobile, honed in on Chapman students, the Vietnamese-American community and the homeless population.

As we listened to both teams' presentations Tuesday night (May 4), Danielle and I were struck by how polished and professional the students were and how brilliant they were in executing a highly strategic and creative campaign.

We agreed the competition brought out the best in all of us, but more importantly, it made a difference in the students' own lives and in the lives of the people they touched.

Ted Nguyen’s team:

Stephanie Baum

Candice DeForest

Janelle Maluenda

Jessica Pauletto

Courtney Shepard

Danielle Alvarez’ team:

Travis Culver

Maria Delano

Alyssa Mihm

Philia Pak

Amanda Vo

Click here for an iPhone interview with adviser Danielle Alvarez and PR student Janelle Maluenda.

Hear this iPhone Audioboo of one of the team's award-winning U.S. Census program.

Read more about the award from the Public Relations Society of America.

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