Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Ups and Downs of Campaigns

Throughout my life as a PR major at UGA, I've heard countless stories about how much work to anticipate in my capstone Campaigns class (see Dr. Kaye Sweetser's video, "True Life: Campaigns").  The class is designed to draw on every concept we've ever learned in our PR classes, from writing to strategic planning.  Even though I've had quite a bit of internship experience, this class has provided me with a whole new learning environment.  There have definitely been some ups and downs along the way, but as we get closer to the end of the semester I'm so excited to see how everything turns out!

I've posted before about this class, but here's a quick little aside about what we're doing...
Our class is helping various entities involved with combating poverty in Athens.  Most students don't realize that UGA's host, Athens-Clarke County, is the 5th poorest county in the nation.  Obviously, this project is a huge undertaking, and a class of 21 seniors can't solve the problems that have existed in this region for generations.  Our hope is that we will be able to re-energize the campus and make students more aware of the situation so they will be inspired to help.  Our main thought was to form an umbrella organization to bring existing anti-poverty student organizations together.

Everyone was so enthusiastic about the project at the beginning and couldn't wait to get started on forming a solution.  However, there was a lot of research that had to be done before we could jump straight into tackling the problem.  We have spent the last few months conducting student focus groups, interviewing faculty, and gauging the general interest on campus in the fight against poverty.  While everyone is anxious to "get something done," we have had to realize that our efforts would be wasted if we didn't put in the proper research first.  As graduation quickly approaches, we have had to adjust our strategy to more of a research-based campaign.  In the next few weeks, we will be creating a book to present to the client that includes all of our research and case studies.  It is our hope that our work will lay the groundwork for future classes.  While we may not get to see the direct outcome this semester, I know we will one day. 

I think the biggest lesson I have learned in this class has been about delegating.  I've always been someone who likes to get things done myself, and hates depending on other people for anything.  However, as a co-leader of a class of 21 students, I can't possibly do everything myself.  Myself and my other co-leader have spent so much time delegating work and planning assignments, which has definitely been a new experience for me.  I never realized how hard it is to get college students to turn things in on time! It's hard sometimes to enforce deadlines, but I've gotten great practice in leadership and project management.

All in all, Campaigns has been a wonderful learning experience, as I knew it would be.  There is no better way to prepare for a future career in public relations than actually executing an entire campaign.  I know I will look back to lessons I learned in this class for years to come.

No comments:

Post a Comment