by Gabrielle Woodard
Deciding to participate in the Bateman Case Study Competition was one of the best choices I made during my college career. Bateman gave my team the opportunity to not only create a PR plan (like we have in other classes) but also the ability to implement the plan. It was an amazing opportunity to learn about the issues student veterans face and try to educate others about how to assist student veterans during the veterans’ transition from combat to campus.
I can’t thank Tim Roberts, our Bateman advisor, enough for all of his guidance. He responded quickly to our after-hours emails the night before something was due, and he was always honest with us about whether we were heading in the right direction. I now truly understand why Professor Roberts drilled us on using research to drive our plan; in our casebook, we were able to discuss how our tactics were a direct result of our research.
I really enjoyed being able to work with veterans because they sacrificed so much for our country, and they deserve recognition. It was really rewarding to be able to educate our other audiences about the transition veterans make from the military to college.
One of the goals we were given by Student Veterans of America was to fix the perception of “the broken veteran” – meaning veterans return home “broken” after their service. This was quite the challenge because we had to conduct research to find out why people had that perception. We found people didn’t believe they thought of veterans as broken, but they thought more veterans suffer from PTSD than actually do; only one-third of veterans suffer from PTSD. Many of the veterans we spoke to said the same thing: “We just want to be treated like everyone else.”
Our Bateman client reminded us every day how much PR can influence and change people’s lives. There is more to PR than developing a social media plan or a hashtag; there has to be a more in-depth plan behind the whole campaign.
The fact that we were able to earn an honorable mention is such an honor. We competed against some of the most brilliant public relations students in some of the most competitive PR programs in the country. It made my team feel as though we truly made a difference, and we are proud that we could represent PR Kent to the best of our abilities.