PR students implement plan to battle childhood obesity

The National Bateman Public Relations Campaign Case Study Competition is focusing, this year, on raising awareness about childhood obesity.

Two teams of University students have entered the competition.

The teams will campaign this month in the South Orange and Maplewood school district, according to team member Amanda Monteleone.

Monteleone, part of a group of five, said her team is going to Jefferson Elementary School, where assemblies and information sessions will be held for parents and students.

“This will all lead up to our main event, ‘Jefferson Moves like Jagger,’ a fun dance and exercise evening for the kids to get up and start moving,” Monteleone said.

Monteleone said she and her teammates have created a Facebook page to spread the word of their campaign, called “Make the Healthy Choice the EZ Choice.”

“We have even had Justin Tuck from the New York Giants and Anthony Morrow from the New Jersey Nets retweet our page on Twitter,” Monteleone said.

According to Monteleone, the Village president of South Orange, Alex Torpey, has supported her team’s campaign as well.

Seton Hall’s public relations academic adviser Kathleen Rennie, P h. D., said United Way teams up with schools from all over the country to get their campaigns out to the public and to present students with a challenge.

“For a small university (Seton Hall), it’s hard to make a team,” Rennie said.

According to Rennie, if the two teams make it into the finals, they will present to PR professionals in May for the final three prizes. First prize is $2,500 and a trophy, second place is $1,500 and a plaque and third place is a prize of $1,000 and a plaque.

Monteleone said the only rules for the competition are that all campaigning has to be done in February and that there are monetary guidelines regarding donations and out-of-pocket expenses. Student Laura Perez is a part of the other team, made up of four members, and she said her main goal for the team is to create a positive attitude toward leading a healthy lifestyle.

“The topic is a great way for kids and parents to learn more about the threat obesity poses for children and reducing future risks,” Perez said. “The campaign is also a stepping stone for families to adopt a healthier lifestyle.”

Perez said she advises other students who are interested in entering this competition in the future to be prepared for the work it entails. However, she encourages students to enter if given the chance.

“Hard work pays off in the end, and even though we still haven’t completed the process. I know my team and I have put a lot of effort into this,” Perez said.

Monteleone said she hopes this competition will give her the edge she needs when looking for a job in the PR field when the time comes, because it gave her “real- world experience.”

“We want to help the community and we all care about educating the children on being and staying healthy throughout their lives,” she said.

Lindsay Rittenhouse can be reached at lindsay.rittenhouse@student.shu.edu

Author: Lindsay Rittenhouse

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