UWF PR Campaigns class benefits local charity
By Josh Newby, University Communications
A group of University of West Florida students recently assisted Appetite 4 Life (A4L), a local philanthropic food organization, by providing a comprehensive public relations strategy and renovating their current facility.
For the past eight years, the Public Relations Campaigns class, taught by Eileen Perrigo, has upheld a reputation for providing a demanding, realistic public relations experience.
Each year, 10 students are selected by Perrigo and work together to help a non-profit organization gain exposure in the community. The team works as a real public relations firm, under the title “Wellspring PR.”
Appetite 4 Life provides meals for those infected with or affected by HIV/AIDS and has in the past lacked community involvement and awareness. Wellspring PR’s primary mission was to strengthen awareness of the organization by 50 percent in one year.
“We wanted to do something really great for them,” said David Blum, the creative director of the class. “They’re such a great organization, and we wanted their image in the community to reflect that.”
In addition to conducting research and presenting a thorough public relations plan to the board of A4L, Wellspring PR decided to go above and beyond the mandates of the class.
“They went above and beyond this year by painting the offices of Appetite 4 Life,” said Perrigo. “They learned valuable lessons about how nonprofits work.”
The experience of working under real-world circumstances toward an actual public relations goal is a unique aspect of the class for which many students were grateful.
“I learned a lot about how to delegate,” said Lindsay Prestemon, the executive director of the class. “I learned about all the different leadership dynamics that go toward accomplishing the goals.”
“This class helped me to apply everything I’ve learned thus far,” said Natalie Rodriguez, another student in Wellspring PR. “I’ve learned to work in a group and help accomplish everything we’ve set out to do.”
The biggest recommendation that Wellspring PR presented was an annual fund-raising event that A4L could host and cater, which would help increase awareness of the organization, recruit volunteers and provide funding.
“It’s amazing just how much time and energy goes into creating a full PR campaign,” said Blum. “I now have a greater appreciation for the career field I’m going into.”
The board of directors at A4L was very pleased with the presentation and the ideas given to them by Wellspring PR.
“We will surely benefit for years to come from the efforts these students have made,” said Robert Bellanova, president of A4L. “With the implementation of just a few suggestions and positive insights, our organization will flourish and be able to maintain itself for many years to come.”