Three student teams from BYU-Idaho competed in the Bateman Case Study Competition during Winter Semester 2015.
The Public Relations Student Society of America, commonly abbreviated as the PRSSA, sponsors the Bateman Competition.
Students were assigned to raise awareness about affordable housing on a national level, according to the competition Web page.
Mike Cannon, chair for the BYU-I Department of Communication, said the university opened its chapter of the public relations society in 2003.
The Bateman Case Study Competition is a national case study for public relations students who are a part of the society. It gives students the opportunity to take what they have learned in the classroom and implement it in a national campaign, according to the competition Web page.
“We did research and teamed up with the national cause Home Matters,” said Mindy Barson, a student who participated in the competition and a senior studying communication. “We needed to educate the public about this cause.”
Barson said Home Matters promotes quality housing because both children’s education and health are affected by their living conditions.
Competitors made a plan to educate the community about the serious consequences of poor-quality housing, according to the Bateman Competition Web page.
Barson said the three BYU-I teams planned events to raise awareness about the cause. Some events included building cardboard homes and holding social media contests. In the social media contests, students asked people what home meant to them and handed out brochures to different branches of Farmers National Bank in Twin Falls, Idaho, explaining how to purchase a home.
“The Bateman Competition doesn’t ask you to simply draft a proposal,” according to the competition Web page. “In teams of four or five, you are challenged to research, plan, implement and evaluate a comprehensive public relations campaign.”
Barson said that for the campaign to generated interest and to impact the community, the BYU-I teams needed to put forth a lot of time inside and outside the classroom. They held meetings a few times a week for a couple hours, and they would do as much research as possible during that time.
“Over the course of the semester, each group with five members does a complete campaign,” Cannon said. “They put together and carry out events, then evaluate what they have put together.”
Barson said other universities’ teams started their research in September 2014. The BYU-I teams were not able to start research until January 2015, so they need to do a lot of catch up.
In February, the teams implemented their research, Barton said. In March, they submitted books that included professional presentations of their campaigns to competition judges in New York.
“Before sending in their final entries, each group was judged locally by five people,” Cannon said. “Three of the five were BYU-I faculty, and two were off-campus judges.”
Cannon said that of the 60 teams that participated in the Bateman Competition, 13 got an honorable mention. Two of the 13 teams were from BYU-I.
“Both teams who got honorable mentions had events that were well-attended and received by those who attended,” Cannon said. “They also had great use of social and traditional media.”