A capstone public relations course gives students hands-on experience planning, executing and measuring the success of a campaign that benefits organizations such as a children’s home in Paraguay.
Cayla Metzger, Jenna Pounds, Gabby Sterling ’19 and Cara Sentelik ’19 designed an awareness and volunteer recruitment campaign for Su Refugio, a church and ministry for children in Paraguay. They executed the campaign on the University’s campus this spring, and the nonprofit plans to replicate it on campuses across the country.
Public relations professor Dr. Wes Jamison took his son on a mission trip to Su Refugio 10 years ago with Grace Immanuel Bible Church in Jupiter and kept in touch with the founder. Su Refugio was a perfect organization for his students to develop a campaign around because it has a clear vision but limited resources, he said.
“These campaigns are tailor-made for charities and nonprofits that don’t have a huge budget for marketing or public relations,” Jamison said.
With an incredible amount of research on what motivates high school and college students to go on mission trips, the team developed a plan — one that future Su Refugio interns can replicate, Jamison said.
Everyone on the team brought different skills to the table: proofreading, graphic design, video.
“Usually people say they hate group projects, but we worked together really well,” Metzger said. “God really put everything together.”
The campaign, “Within Reach. Without Limits,” coincided with National Childhood Abuse Prevention month in April. The team recruited and trained brand ambassadors and put on events every day for four days. The events were designed to show the mission of the organization through the redemptive narrative of the Bible, Metzger said.
The first day highlighted the goodness of childhood, Pounds said. The second day, based around brokenness after the fall, educated students about what the children in Paraguay lack. The third day concentrated on redemption that Su Refugio offers, and the final day was about how people could take part in the mission.
A few weeks after the campaign ended, the team was invited to present to Su Refugio’s board in San Diego. The board was very pleased, Pounds and Metzger said. Metzger completed an internship at Su Refugio in Paraguay over the summer and is continuing the internship stateside while researching graduate programs in arts administration.
“This campaign helped us use what we learned and learn new skills,” Metzger said.
Photo 1: Students decorate a banner on the Rinker Green in April as part of a public relations campaign for Su Refugio ministries.
Photo 2: Seniors Jenna Pounds and Cayla Metzger, right, were part of a four-person public relations team that developed a campaign for Su Refugio ministries as part of Dr. Wes Jamison's capstone public relations course. Their other teammates, Gabby Sterling and Cara Sentelik, graduated in the spring. Metzger continues to do an internship with Su Refugio.