Grand PR Teams Place in Digital Marketing Competition

Two GrandPR teams received top-20 recognitions in the 2019 Digital Marketing Competition (DMC).

The teams were noted on the DMC website under the headings “Team S. Dudinetz” and “Team K. Reinert”.

“Team Dudinetz” included Sarah Dudinetz, Kayla Brown, Shelby Cassel, Spencer Lucas with adjunct faculty advisor Ben Risinger of Image Office Systems
“Team Reinert” included Allyssa Murphy, Kylee Reinert, Teagan Epley, Sofia Anderson and adjunct faculty advisor Jason Brower of  LaFleur Marketing.

GVSU PRSSA Wins National Awards

PRSSA Awards.jpgThe GVSU Chapter of PRSSA won several awards at the annual PRSSA (Public Relations Student Society of America) conference in San Diego earlier this week.

The students won one award for University Service for their work on the athletic department’s campaign to use the university’s original mascot. Called a ‘faux back’ day. For one day, basketball teams and fans used the ‘Sawyer’ mascot instead the university’s standard Laker.

The GV PRSSA group also won an award recognizing their relationship with WMPRSA, the local professional chapter of PRSA. The GVSU PRSSA Chapter also earned another Star Chapter Award, which is granted to student chapters that meet 8 of 10 specific requirements.

Finally,  Assistant Professor Adrienne Wallace won a Teahan Award as Outstanding Faculty Advisor.




Students, Alumni, Faculty All Win ‘PRoof’ Awards from WMPRSA

PRoof 2019
(Left to right) Sabrina Antcliff, Amanda Rogers, Sean Billisitz, Trevor Bryan, Courtney Fogle, and Dr. Adrienne Wallace were all winners at the 2019 PRoof Awards.

The Grand Valley State University Advertising and Public Relations program was well represented at the 2019 annual PRoof Awards. Students, alumni and faculty from the program all received recognition at the annual awards ceremony held May 22 in Grand Rapids.

The awards, presented by the West Michigan Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (WMPRSA), recognize the top public relations tactics and campaigns as well as several individual awards. The WMPRSA chapter covers an area from the Indiana border to Traverse City and from the lakeshore to the center of the state.

Students from the student-run PR firm GrandPRreceived three Gold PRoof Awards. In the category of “Tactics/Podcasts” the group won gold for its ‘PR Hangover’ podcast, hosted in 2018-19 by Courtney Fogle. They also won two gold awards for campaigns in the “Events and Observances more than 7 Days” category, one for the Sawyer’s Day Campaign done with Grand Valley Athletics and one for “Timeless 10,” a campaign to celebrate the 10thanniversary of Grand PR, accepted by Sabrina Antcliff and Amanda Rogers.

Individual awards went to a student, an alumnus, and a professor in the program.

Trevor Bryan, who was the GVSU PRSSA President in 20180-19, was recognized as the West Michigan chapter’s student of the year.

Sean Billisitz, a recent graduate now working at Truscott Rossman Public Relations, was named the 2019 Newcomer of the Year.

Adrienne Wallace, an assistant professor and faculty advisor to PRSSA and GrandPR, was named the 2019 PR Professional of the Year.

The GVSU Ad and PR program were also involved behind the scenes. The PRoof committee included two students—Morgan Schafer and Amanda Hume.

WMPRSA received a record 131 entries for this year’s awards program. Also, the judging standard was more rigorous and aligned with PRSA’s national Bronze and Silver Anvil awards criteria. All entrants had to achieve a minimum number of points. Tactics were judged on planning, creativity, technical excellence and results. Campaigns were judged on research, objectives and strategies, execution, and an evaluation of meeting measurable objectives.


Ad and PR Student Elizabeth Kebler Spends Week in DC as Michigan Ambassador

Elizabeth Kebler is escorted by Rep. Bill Huizenga at a National Cherry Blossom Festival event.

Elizabeth Kebler spent a week in DC recently as an ambassador for the State of Michigan in the annual Cherry Blossom Festival. Officially she was known as a Cherry Blossom Princess.

Each year, the National Cherry Blossom Festival commemorates the 1912 gift of 3,000 cherry frees from Tokyo in Washington, D.C. The gift of the cherry blossom trees honor and celebrate the lasting friendship between the United States and Japan and the continued close relationship between the two countries. The Cherry Blossom Princess Program is a week-long program that offers cultural, educational, and professional development opportunities for young women leaders across the United States.

“I was selected by the State of Michigan as a young woman leader based off of my leadership and academic achievements along with my interest in social, civic, community, and world affairs,” said Kebler, who has also served an internship with U.S. Representative Bill Huizenga of Michigan’s Second District. “I strive to surround myself with a diverse group of strong, smart women and throughout the week I was with 56 of them. I’m proud to be from the State of Michigan and I wanted to be able to represent my state in the nation’s capital.”

Kebler said she was able to make connections with world leaders and strong women while learning about opportunities in the future. She enjoyed learning more about the diplomacy that the United States engages with around the world. Government relations is her passion and she aspires to be a voice for our government that tells the truth and is consistently transparent.

Kebler only came back to Michigan and GVSU briefly. Right after graduation, she is moving to Washington D.C. on April 29 to begin a job as a communications specialist at the National Pension Fund and to begin work on a master’s degree from Georgetown University in public relations and corporate communications.

“My career aspirations are to be a communications director for a United State Senator someday,” she said. “I hope other students in the Grand Valley public relations program realize that there is a need for us in the government and  that there are so many opportunities that can enrich their experiences in PR.”



Media Planning Class Visits MLive

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MLive President and CEO Dan Gaydou welcomes students.

Students in Jonathan Snedeker’s Media Planning class went right to the source recently when they visited the MLive headquarters in downtown Grand Rapids.

The day included a welcome from President & CEO Dan Gaydou and presentations by the Account Director Ryan Knizner and Senior Creative Director Anne Drummond on current MLIve media options.

“It was a great learning opportunity for GVSU students on the value of traditional and digital media channels when planning a strategic advertising buy,” said Snedeker, Affiliate Faculty, who worked in media planning full-time before becoming a full-time professor.


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Snedeker, front right, with his media planning students at MLive.

GVSU Ad/PR Students Win District in National Student Advertising Competition

NSAC19 D6 First Place Team
Professor Spring (center, front) with the 2019 NSAC team.

After working hard over the past two semesters, a team of Advertising and Public Relations students were rewarded with a first place from judges in their district in the National Student Advertising Competition (NSAC).

The team competed in the American Advertising Federation District 6, which includes Michigan, Illinois, and Indiana. Due to the large number of schools in the midwest, District 6 is a mega district and teams compete in two tracks. The GVSU team won their track, edging out Southern Illinois University and Michigan State University. The team is now one of 18 in the nation to complete in semi-finals in May, and if they prevail there they will be among 8 teams to compete in the final competition June 6-7 in Hollywood, Florida.

“Approximately 150 schools and 2,000 students from across the U.S. compete in this competition each year,” said Robin Spring, assistant professor and faculty advisor for the team. “All teams develop a campaign for the same client, which was Wienerschnitzel Hot Dogs this year.”

Judges are professionals from the advertising industry. Teams are judged on an advertising plans book and a 20-minute presentation. The competition has been around since the 1970s and is the largest student advertising competition in the country.

“Since NSAC has been around for so long, many professionals in the field have competed in it or know of it,” Spring said.  “It’s a huge boost on anyone’s resume, win or lose.  Just to participate is a big deal. Often there are recruiters from big ad firms there to scout students to hire.”

Students from the GVSU Advertising and Public Relations program, part of the School of Communications, have regularly placed in the top 3 at the District level and gone on to nationals twice. Under Spring’s advising over the past five years they have won first place in the district three times and placed 4th in the country once. Competition place and clients included:

  • First in 2015 – Pizza Hut  (missed nationals by one point – came in 9th in Semi-Finals)
  • Third in 2016 – Snapple
  • First in 2017 – Tai Pei (moved through Semi-Finals to Nationals in New Orleans.  4th in nation, Best Marketing Research Award)
  • Third in 2018 – Ocean Spray
  • First in 2019 – Wienerschnitzel Hot Dogs

Keegan Bauer Named Chapman Scholarship Winner for 2019

Keegan Bauer

Keagan Bauer has been named the 2019 recipient of the Frederick A. Chapman Scholarship. She will receive $1400 towards her tuition next year.

The Chapman Scholarship is named for former Advertising and Public Relations Professor Fred Chapman and recognizes a student going into public relations who is dedicated to community service.

As a student, Bauer has been involved with the American Cancer Society, the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, and Make a Difference Day. She also served as public relations officer and secretary of Circle K International, which is the world’s largest collegiate service organization that partners with various charities. In this role she volunteered every weekend with various charities. She also is a member of Phi Sigma Phi, a co-ed honors fraternity dedicated to fostering the ideals of fellowship, scholarship, and leadership. With this organization Bauer serves as webmaster and serves on both the public relations and service committees helping to increase recruitment and help coordinate our service activities.

After graduating in December 2019, Bauer hopes to work for a public relations firm in the Grand Rapids area, either where she currently interns at COM 616 or another area agency. Long term she aspires to being a Chief Communications Officer (CCO) at a major local company. But she maintains her interest in using her public relations skills in community service as well.

“Community service has become an integral part of my life,” Bauer says. “Community service is something that brings people of all backgrounds and walks of life together to benefit the people in society. I am thankful that I have the opportunity to dedicate myself to serving others not only through volunteering but through the field of public relations as well. The two are intertwined in striking ways, and my draw to the field more than likely comes from my draw to helping others.”

Students may apply for the Chapman Scholarship every year. The information about the scholarship and application guidelines are on the School of Communication web site.

Donors who wish to contribute to the Chapman Scholarship may do so from the Advertising and Public Relations web site.