Public relations students encourage diversity through campaign

Abby Giles, Tucker Toolson, Ashley Hamblin, Colin Wylie and Monica Chabot prepare to submit their campaign for review after a month of working on it. (Rachel Keeler)

Five BYU communications students addressed sustainably promoting the embrace of diversity in the communications program for the Public Relations Student Society of America Bateman Competition.

According to the PRSSA website, the Bateman Competition is a national case study competition that gives public relations students an opportunity to create a full public relations campaign by implementing classroom education and internship experiences.

One of the BYU public relations teams competing in the competition is comprised of five seniors in the communications program: Colin Wylie, Monica Chabot, Tucker Toolson, Abby Giles and Ashley Hamblin.

The team has created a three-fold campaign they have titled “Embrace Diversity.”

“Our campaign is all about diversity,” Wylie said. “We have worked on several events and programs, such as a class, about diversity and a mentorship program here on campus. It has helped to start much-needed conversations.”

Students from the campaign pose with “Embrace Diversity” posters. (Colin Wylie)

The group worked for one month, from Feb. 11 to March 11, to put together its entire diversity-centered campaign.

According to Chabot, the students have each spent nearly ten hours a week on the campaign outside of class.

“We knew that we couldn’t change who applied to the program,” Giles said. “But we knew that we could change the way people approached diversity and help bring the problems our diverse students face to the forefront. We really hope we can eliminate some of those problems.”

The students began the campaign by conducting surveys around BYU campus regarding the diversity.

“Based off of the survey results we got, students’ issues aren’t being brought to the forefront,” Chabot said. “It was surprisingly uncomfortable to get people to talk about diversity.”

Giles states the Embrace Diversity campaign will open doors to much-needed conversations. (Arianna Davidson)

The group worked on sustainable projects across campus to get the student body involved. Giles said the group went into COMMS 300 classes and helped focus its curriculum on highlighting diversity. COMMS 300 is a class on media ethics, law and responsibility required for all communications majors.

“We had an expert on diversity come and talk to the class, and then we led a discussion, which was really great,” Giles said.  

The curriculum the group created will be implemented into COMMS 300 classes in coming semesters.

The group also redid the diversity page on the School of Communications website, focusing on educating students about unconscious bias and stereotyping and promoting the need to learn about diversity. 

“We have also invited local high schools and diversity clubs to tour the Brimhall Building on campus and let them know that there are opportunities for them in communications,” Wylie said. 

According to Hamblin, the team hopes the campaign will have long-term effects on campus.

Students working on the campaign created stickers encouraging all to “Embrace Diversity” for students to put on their laptops. (Colin Wylie)

“Our campaign is built around being sustainable, and we are working with the School of Communications to make this long-lasting,” Hamblin said. “Hopefully, in the fall there will be a class about diversity, and the School of Communications will continue those tours.”

The group has also created a mentorship program and ties with BYU Connect so the program will live on.

“We are ultimately trying to teach everyone to be a better ally,” Chabot said. “People must be educated on how to be aware and open, and this will play into so many different roles later in life.” 

The campaign will be judged by public relations professionals who will select their top three candidates and notify them April 18. According to Wylie, the group hopes the judges see the progress they have helped promote on campus.

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