Kentucky PR students take lead on pro bono assignment

BOWLING GREEN, KY: A team of Western Kentucky University PR and advertising students will create an integrated marketing campaign for nonprofit Barren River Animal Welfare Association.

BOWLING GREEN, KY: A team of Western Kentucky University PR and advertising students will create an integrated marketing campaign for nonprofit Barren River Animal Welfare Association.

The 24-hour pro bono project, which begins on January 22, will be undertaken by small teams of more than 30 students from WKU's Imagewest, a student-run ad and PR agency, along with the school's Public Relations Student Society of America and American Advertising Federation Student Chapter. Projects for the association will include developing a PR campaign and communications plan, creating a video, designing a brochure and redesigning and launching a website. A pitch session will follow on January 23.

Heather Garcia, agency manager of Imagewest, said the idea emerged after students visited Nashville-based firm Redpepper and learned about its 24-hour project called Createathon.

“I had heard of agencies doing this around the country, but not with students,” she said. “We tossed around the idea for several years and always thought it would be beneficial for the students and a fun way to help someone in the community.”

Imagewest had worked withwith the association in the past on a Facebook campaign, where donations were made to the nonprofit based on how many people “liked” Imagewest's new Facebook page.

“The Facebook campaign was successful and the working relationship with the association was a very pleasant experience,” Garcia added. “Shortly after, I discussed with them some of their challenges and pitched the [24-hour] idea to them. Of course, they were in shock at first about this project, but very appreciative about this opportunity.”

Garcia said she hopes to make the 24-hour project an annual event for the Western Kentucky University.

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