Ad and PR Students Win Honors in National Competitions

Students in the GVSU Advertising and Public Relations major program have earned recognition in national advertising and public relations competitions. Both teams worked for two semesters to create campaign plans and present them before a team of judges.

GrandPR 2015-16
The 2015-16 GrandPR staff. A team of 5 students from the student PR firm earned honorable mention in the national Bateman PR campaign competition.

A team of students from GrandPR, the student-run public relations firm, won an honorable mention in the 2016 Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) Bateman competition. The year-long competition this year asked student teams from across the country to spark local and national dialogues about education. The 5-member GVSU team focused their campaign on the GVSU of the Student Veterans of America (SVA).

Out of 70 entries, GrandPR was one of 16 Honorable Mentions. The firm was recognized among programs much larger and older than that at GVSU such as University of Florida, University of North Carolina, Brigham Young University and DePaul University.

“Our team was able to practice the public relations processes we learn in the classroom while also helping out a great on-campus organization,” said Elle O’Hara, CEO of GrandPR and one member of the 5-person team. “My team and I worked hard from start to finish and receiving an Honorable Mention gives us all confidence to move forward with our careers in the advertising and public relations fields.”

This was the fourth time students in the GVSU Advertising and Public Relations program entered the Bateman competition, but the first time a team from GrandPR entered and the first time GVSU placed placed in the national competition. GrandPR plans to continue entering the competition in the coming years. The team’s faculty advisor was Adrienne Wallace.

NSAC team 2015-16
Students on the 2015-16 National Student Advertising Competition team did a campaign for Snapple.

Meanwhile, 19 students on the National Student Advertising Competition (NSAC) team earned a third place finish in District 6 of the American Advertising Federation (AAF) District 6, which incudes college teams from Michigan, Indiana, and Illinois. The first and second-place teams were from Purdue Calumet and Michigan State, respectively. There were 150 teams competing nationwide doing a campaign for Snapple, with only the top finisher in each district advancing to finals.

Students were pleased to finish so well alongside some much larger schools in the district.

“Our third place district place highlights the phenomenal education and experience GVSU offers,” said Ben Kaluski, Project Manager for the Grand Valley team.

Additional recognition went to Aubrey Leko, presenter and team Creative Director, who was honored with the “Best Presenter” award.

“I could not be more proud of this team, said Assistant Professor Robin Spring, who advised the team.  “They took the challenge and had the grit to see it through.  They uncovered insights based on months of research, created a complex and refined campaign, perfected the presentation and wowed the judges.  The competition was tough, yet we have once again shown that Grand Valley can compete with some of the largest and most respected programs in the country.”

GVSU’s NSAC teams have consistently placed in District 6 competition, and once previously advanced to the national finals.