Flash mobs and public relations

I’ll admit it. I don’t know anything about flash mobs. But I guess I’ll find out Wednesday at Kent State. Here’s the story.

t9905794409_9342.jpgOne of the great things about teaching is to see students take an idea in the classroom and then make it come alive. And that’s what’s happening with an independent study class of public relations majors who are participating in the Do It Now College Challenge, a campaign sponsored by Donate Life Ohio. The goal of the campaign is to recruit 400,000 new organ donors in Ohio.

The college challenge is a statewide competition involving 14 colleges and universities. And the Kent State Do It Now team is organizing a flash mob Wednesday afternoon at 2:15 on the Kent campus in the Risman Plaza between the Student Center and Library. The idea is to present information about organ donations — and give students and others the opportunity to register to become organ donors. And while I’m certain Kent’s public relations students will win this competition — it won’t hurt to give them a little support and help. Right?

If you’re on campus. Stop by. Here’s an example of what you’ll see.

And at Kent State we work hard to give students the opportunity to gain professional experience while still in the classroom. Here’s a story about the Do It Now College Challenge written by Jillana Gall, an English major working this semester with Flash Communications, our student-run public relations agency. So if you’re not on campus, this gives you more background and ways to support Kent’s public relations team.

The “Do It Now” College Challenge
Save a Life. Be a Donor.

Jillana Gall

Kent State public relations students are hard at work promoting an important issue and competing with students at other Ohio universities as part of the “Do It Now” College Challenge.

In Ohio today there are nearly 2,500 people waiting for an organ transplant, and one Ohioan will die every other day because not enough organs are available. And Donate Life Ohio, a statewide division of Donate Life America, is helping to meet a national goal of increasing registered organ donors from 60 million to 100 million by teaming up with college campuses across Ohio for the “Do It Now” College Challenge.

Kent State’s campaign to increase organ donors was developed in the fall 2007 Public Relations Campaigns class and is now being implemented by seven junior public relations students who are participating in an independent study created by Assistant Professor of Public Relations Michele Ewing. The students on the campaign team are Julie McKinney, Deborah Pritchard, Lyndsay Elliott, Brittany Thoma, Jackie Lloyd, Katelyn Luysterborg and Brandi Neloms. There are 14 Ohio universities participating in the campaign and it is financed by The Second Chance Trust Fund and Ohio’s organ procurement agencies.

The challenge to the student teams competing at 14 Ohio universities is to register as many new donors as possible by May. Each university has its own predetermined registration goal, based on its surrounding population. The goal for Kent State is set at 14,571, and there have been 7,429 donors registered as of late March.

Kent’s PR students are using a variety of tactics to increase donor registration, but one of the innovative ways they are increasing awareness for this campaign is through the social networking site Facebook. Students have created a Facebook page to inform other students and peers about the campaign.

The page provides general information about the campaign, as well as links to the Donate Life Ohio and Do It Now Web sites. There is also a discussion board where members are invited to talk about what influenced their decisions to become organ donors. This is an open group, so any Facebook member is eligible to join. If you are interested in viewing this page, visit http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=8182077415.

The Kent State Donate Life Ohio team look forward to a busy month in April, which is National Donate Life Month. They will be holding registration drives on campus, attending Kent State events to increase awareness for the campaign and implementing other online tactics to drive people to the registration site.

The Kent team will present its plan and results May 14 to the DLO Advisory Council. An overall winner will be selected among the 14 universities and awarded a donation of $5,000 to a campus student organization. If the Kent State DLO team wins, the money will go to the Public Relations Student Society of America. Other awards include a $250 donation to the best plan and most creative tactic implementation. Individual students on the winning teams will get the opportunity to have an interview for an internship at select Ohio marketing and public relations firms or with regional organ procurement organizations. Team members also receive reference letters from Donate Life Ohio.

If you are interested in becoming an organ donor, you can register by completing a paper enrollment at one of the Kent State DLO events or visiting http://www.doitnowohio.org/kent/. You can access additional information about “Do It Now” College Challenge at this site. The DLO Kent team needs volunteers to assist at events. If interested, visit the Kent DLO Facebook page.

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8 responses to “Flash mobs and public relations

  1. Brittany Thoma

    Thank you, Rob for such a lengthy post on our campaign. Jillana Gall did a great job with her piece as well. We all appreciate Flash Communications and all the help with the Flash Mob. Thanks again.

  2. Brittany,

    This is an excellent campaign. And all of you should be congratulated for your efforts. Good luck with the flash mob Wednesday.

  3. Rob,

    I wanted to express my appreciation, too. The students are working extremely hard, and truly making a difference in an important cause. Thanks again for your time and interest.

  4. Rob,
    Thank you for taking the time to support our cause. We greatly appreicate it! I would have to say that the event was a success as far as awareness, education, getting registants and aquiring volunteers. We’ll see how the news media reacts and what coverage we’ll get soon!

    Thanks again!

  5. Brandi,

    Thanks. I appreciate your comment. You all did a great job with this project. It’s tough to gain public attention for an important public issue like organ donation. But you had an excellent plan — and it worked. Congratulations.

    Rob

  6. Brandi Neloms

    ~Update~

    Our PRKent team was the overall winner of the Do It Now College Challenge. We won $5000 for PRSSA, interniship opportunities and great publicity for the public relations department here at KSU!

    Thank you Rob! PRKent will miss you!

  7. Brandi Neloms

    BTW ~ It is projected that the PRKent team will be responsible for 12,500 new donors added to the registry in Cuyahoga, Geauga and Portage counties (BMV numbers included).

  8. Brandi, Congratulations to you and the entire PRKent team. What I enjoyed most about teaching at Kent was the opportunity to be associated with such talented and enthusiastic young professions as you and the many others I met in class and at Flash Communications. I’ll miss that a lot. But I’ll still be around — and interested in what all of you are doing.

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