Bateman team members Tomi Ajibodu, Ivey Lawrence and Desiree Colon explained the group’s campaign for the contest to the Cleveland Media Association on Friday.
The Public Relations Student Society of America Bateman case study competition is a public relations campaign competition for college students. The girls entered the competition, along with Jennifer Patrick, as Richter PR.
“In Tennessee, out of all the children in our state 36.5 percent are overweight or obese,” Lawrence said. “That is actually the fifth highest in the nation.”
Lawrence said a 2010 local United Way survey showed an area of unmet need in Bradley County was access to nutritious food at reduced cost for those with low income.
In addition to researching national and state information and statistics, the team also researched local organizations that can help people stay healthy.
The Cleveland YMCA, The Greenway Table, Cleveland/Bradley County Greenway and Bradley County Coordinated School Health were selected as local organizations with which to talk.
Ajibodu explained these organizations related to the topic because they provide places for people to exercise or present information about nutrition and staying fit.
The Greenway also became an important part of the students’ campaign when they held a fun run on the Greenway to further educate the public and provide a time to get fit.
The Lee students also gathered local research by circulating a survey, which was completed by 204 people. Of those who completed the survey, none of them were aware of United Way programs that were health oriented.
Many also did not have an accurate definition for the term “obese.”
After the month-long campaign, the team circulated a survey and found awareness for the issue and resources available had increased.
Lawrence said the main focus of the campaign was to educate parents of students 2 to 17 about childhood obesity and ways to combat it. The team also wanted to bring awareness to 18- and 19-year-old students at Lee University.
The campaign approached the issue from two sides — a community initiative and a Lee University campus initiative. As part of the campus-wide campaign, the team established a United Way student club, according to Colon.
“It’s at our age where people start developing those habits they are going to have for the rest of their life,” Lawrence said.
Colon said the team used local and social media to promote the campaign. Members of the team appeared on TV and several articles were published by local media outlets. A public service announcement about childhood obesity also ran for two weeks.
She said they also put information in the Lee cafeteria, where most 18- and 19-year-old students would see it.
The team worked closely with Allen Mincey of United Way throughout the campaign.