Y public relations students raise credit card awareness, enter national contest

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    By Natalie Roach

    A five member team of BYU students submitted their credit card awareness campaign on Friday to the annual Bateman competition, a national public relations case study contest.

    Four years ago a team from BYU took first place in the Bateman competition.

    PRSA, the Public Relations Society of America, began the competition in 1973 and then renamed it in 1983 in honor of the late J. Carroll Bateman, ARP, according to PRSA”s Web site.

    Visa U.S.A. is the corporate sponsor of this year”s competition. As stated on PRSA”s Web site, Visa is committed to improving the level of financial literacy in the United States.

    Visa specifically asked competitors to focus on improving the financial literacy of 16-22 year olds.

    Amy Allen, 24, a senior from Oklahoma City, Okla. majoring in public relations, is one member of BYU”s team.

    After doing extensive research, conducting focus groups, and surveying over 1,000 members of the local community, the team decided to center its campaign on credit card awareness, Allen said.

    While researching the subject, the team found that college students have the highest credit card debt in the nation.

    “We found that there are a lot of misconceptions about credit cards. There”s a lot that people don”t know,” Allen said.

    The five team members, Amy Allen, Sarah Dehghani, Cathy Exon, Carol-Lyn Jardine and Tina Thorley, have been working on their project since the beginning of November, Allen said.

    The team will hear Monday, April 2, whether or not judges chose their campaign as one of three finalists.

    The top three teams representing colleges throughout the nation will go to San Francisco and present their campaigns before judges.

    As part of their campaign, the team designed a Web site and planned and implemented three events to accomplish its goal of raising credit card awareness in the local community.

    During the BYU women”s basketball game against the University of Utah, the public relations team hosted a halftime credit card information show. Cheerleaders asked the crowd financial questions and those who answered correctly tried to win prizes by shooting baskets, Allen said.

    Local sponsors, Novell, Brighton and the radio station 94.9ZHT, provided prizes such as ski passes, movie tickets and CD”s.

    On March 8, the BYU team hosted a credit card workshop for high school and college students and their parents.

    Dr. Steven Thorley of the Marriott School of Management spoke to the audience about credit cards and staying out of debt, Allen said.

    “At this workshop we also showed students how to read a credit card statement; what to look for and what to do if you find a mistake,” Allen said.

    Helpful hints and more information about credit card awareness can be found at their Web site: www.plasticfacts.homestead.com.

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