AU team earns honorable mention in PRSSA Bateman Case Study competition

04/30/20 ASHLAND, Ohio -- A team from Ashland University received an honorable mention for its entry in the Public Relations Student Society of America’s 2020 Bateman Case Study competition.

It was a first for the AU team, which was composed of Juliet Touma, Rachel Miller, Michaela Godfrey, Samantha Reffner and Kathleen McKay and advised by Shawn Orr.

The Bateman Case Study Competition is PRSSA’s premier national case study competition for public relations students and gives them an opportunity to apply what they’ve learned in class to designing, developing, implementing and evaluating a major public relations campaign for a real-world client.

This year, the client was the US Census Bureau. Student campaigns focused on ensuring everyone is counted, counted only once, and counted in the correct categories for the 2020 Census. 

Fewer than 25 percent of all the competition submissions are selected for recognition by the 34-judge panel, with the top three finalists competing for a scholarship. This year's honorable mention commendations went to 14 colleges and universities across the United States.

The “CountAUIn” team also selected the Ashland County Amish and Old Order Mennonite residents as its second campaign population. 

A variety of strategies and tactics to engage AU students were utilized, including coffee sleeve advertising, pledge cards, radio and newspaper articles, free promotional pens, tabling events and an interactive and informational Instagram account. To reach the Amish and Old Order Mennonite population, a group without technology, the campaign focused on building relationships with community opinion leaders, sending out informational letters to the houses of Amish and Old Order Mennonite residents living in Ashland County, and posting infographics about the census in community areas frequented by this population.

The “CountAUIn” campaign met and exceeded the overarching goal, as well as the specific objectives of the campaign due to strategic research, planning, careful execution of the strategies and tactics, and implementation of crisis management contingency planning due to the COVID-19 disruptions. The campaign reached 79 percent of the Amish and Old Order Mennonite population in Ashland and 49 percent of the AU undergraduate population with key messages and engagement opportunities.

Ashland University is a mid-sized, private university conveniently located a short distance from Akron, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. Ashland University (www.ashland.eduvalues the individual student and offers a unique educational experience that combines the challenge of strong, applied academic programs with a faculty and staff who build nurturing relationships with their students.###