Earlier this month, Lambda Pi Eta and Sheryl Lidzy, associate professor of communication, took two students to Oklahoma City to compete in the Public Relations Student Competition. And one of those students, junior communication major LaShae Castel, was on the winning team.
“It was great to get public relations experience working with a real organization,” Castel said. “The OKDAV (Oklahoma Disabled American Veterans) director said the organization will be using information from the five presentations.”
The competition was hosted by the Oklahoma Speech Theatre Communication Association. Although this was the third year OSTCA has hosted the competition, this was ESU’s first year to have students compete.
It was also the first college-level event that Castel and Countryman competed in, though they both were involved in forensics in high school.
Five teams presented marketing techniques to help increase public awareness about OKDAV. The teams were briefed by OKDAV to discuss public relations opportunities for the nonprofit organization in the form of a digital presentation. The goal was to emphasize “brand building and relationship management, particularly through social media and direct customer contact.” Members of each of the five teams were drawn randomly from 25 individual entrants.
“We had to present ways to increase the organization’s visibility,” said Rachael Countryman, junior communication major, who also represented Emporia State at the competition. “All of the groups presented marketing techniques that would encourage disabled veterans to use the services. We also presented techniques that would encourage donations to OKDAV, but the emphasis was on letting more people know about the services they can provide.”
Lidzy said that four groups gave PowerPoint presentations and one group made a presentation using the cloud-based online application called Prezi.
“Each team had two hours to prepare their presentation,” Countryman said. “Then each team had 10 minutes to present to the OKDAV board members.”
The presentations were judged by OKDAV state commander Dennis Cougar Hammons and OKDAV board member Tommy Sellers.
Castel and Countryman will compete in another communication event in April at the Central States Communication Association in Kansas City, Mo.