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School of Journalism & Broadcasting News


BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (April 20, 2016) — An awareness campaign developed by five WKU public relations majors for the Student Veterans Alliance (SVA) is one of 16 student projects earning honorable mention distinction in a nationwide public relations competition for college students—the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) 2016 Bateman Case Study Competition.

Competing with 70 other teams, WKU’s Five for Freedom -- also members of the Kelly Thompson PRSSA chapter -- developed the Vets on the Hill campaign to raise campus awareness about SVA.

Competing on the team were seniors Cathy Adwell of Bowling Green, Emily Goodin of Louisville, Hayley Hoback of Louisville, Megan Shefchik of Union, and Olivia Sisk of Scottsville.

“The opportunity to blend real-world public relations experience with service learning in the classroom is always essential, but this year’s competition gave public relations majors a chance to show support for an important part of our campus community -- WKU’s student veterans and our own SVA chapter” said WKU Associate Professor Vicki Bagwell, School of Journalism & Broadcasting. The project is part of the public relations capstone course, PR 456 Public Relations Management.

The campaign included a two-day Flags for Freedom event in front of Downing Student Union (DSU) and Guthrie Tower and a month-long social media campaign offering campus participants opportunities to pose for photos with an “I Support SVA” photo frame. Campus participants included President Gary Ransdell, WKU Mascot Big Red, WKU therapy dog CanDoo, members of the Greek community, and other supporters of SVA.

The campaign had 1,350 faculty, staff and students to participate in the flag display event, and daily reach through social media was more than 1,100, all resulting in an increase of awareness among the campus community.

“Thanks to the team’s efforts, SVA is much better known at WKU,” said Rick Wright, WKU SVA Advisor. “We really appreciate the long hours and the hard work put forth to help our student veterans.”

Sponsored this year byThe Plank Center for Leadership in Public Relations (“The Plank Center”) andEdelman, PRSSA’s Bateman Case Study Competition challenges college student teams on their ability to develop and implement a comprehensive public relations campaign. Public relations practitioners judged each team on research, creation, implementation, and evaluation and measurement of the campaign.

For additional information and updates about the PRSSA 2016 Bateman Case Study Competition, or contact Professor Vicki Bagwell, WKU School of Journalism & Broadcasting, (270) 745-5834,

About the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA)

The Public Relations Student Society of America ( is the foremost organization for students interested in public relations and communications. Founded in 1968 by its parent organization, the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), PRSSA includes more than 11,000 student members and advisers, and is active at more than 340 colleges and universities.

About Student Veterans of America

SVA is a 501(c)(3) non-profit coalition of more than 1,300 student veteran chapters, representing over 540,000 veterans in higher education, across the country. SVA's mission is to provide military veterans with the resources, support, and advocacy to ease veteran and active military students' transition into higher education and leverage military experience to launch successful careers in high-demand fields after graduation. For more information, visit us at and follow us on Twitter@studentvets.

About The Plank Center for Leadership in Public Relations

The Plank Center is the leading international resource for practitioners, educators and students who are passionate about advancing their careers and the public relations profession. Its mission is to help develop and recognize outstanding diverse public relations leaders, role models and mentors to advance ethical public relations in an evolving, global society.

About Edelman

Edelman is a leading global communications marketing firm, with more than 5,500 employees in 65 cities worldwide. Edelman partners with many of the world’s largest and emerging businesses and organizations, helping them evolve, promote and protect their brands and reputations. Edelman was named one of Advertising Age’s “Agency to Watch” in 2014; one of Forbes’ “14 Most Influential Agencies of 2014”; and The Holmes Report’s “2013 Global Agency of the Year.” Edelman was awarded the Grand Prix Cannes Lion for PR in 2014 and was among Glassdoor’s “Best Places to Work” for the third time in 2014. Edelman owns specialty firms Edelman Berland (research) and United Entertainment Group (entertainment, sports, experiential), a joint venture with United Talent Agency.

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