Public relations students launch anti-bullying campaigns through competition


Public relations students Wezley Garlick, Caitlin Potts, Mary Kate Garvey and Lindsey Sager and Kirsten Bowers pose for a group photo while volunteering at Rootstown Middle School. The group helped raise awareness of bullying in the school and taught students how to stop it. Photo courtesy of Caitlin Potts.

Abby Bradford

Public Relations Student Society of America chose 10 Kent State public relations students to compete in the national Bateman Project, a case study competition that gives the students a chance to create a PR campaign.

“[The students] actually implement the plan and they evaluate the success of the plan, just like in the real world,” said Tim Roberts, instructor and faculty adviser of the Bateman Project.

The Bateman Case Study Competition chose childhood bullying and requires teams to increase awareness among children, teens and parents of the serious consequences of childhood bullying and what they can do to stop it.

“With social media and cyber bullying, both teams found out that it’s changed everything,” Roberts said. “I mean, the kids who are bullied cannot go home and escape it because they can be bullied on Facebook, they can be bullied on Instagram and they can be bullied on Twitter.”

The 10 students divided into two teams of five for the competition to create a campaign revolving around this year’s theme. This is the first year Kent State has two teams competing. The two teams are Bateman Gold and Bateman Blue.

“I feel like I have an edge, I have actually put together a campaign and implemented it and I actually will have a casebook that I can show I took part in this,” said Mary Kate Garvey, a senior public relations major on the Bateman Blue team.

The Bateman Blue team went to Rootstown Middle School lunch hour five different times and attended a parent-teacher conference and a faculty staff meeting. The Blue team focused on the bystander aspect of bullying, and through research, they realized that a lot of the time bullying situations could be stopped if kids actually stepped in. Garvey said the Bateman Blue team gave the children tools to know how to step in and stop bullying without getting targeted themselves.

“Bullying really hits home for me,” Garvey said. “I was always bullied when I was in school, and so I feel like I am really making a difference.”

The teams started their research during Christmas break and have been meeting and working on the project four to five times a week since the semester began. The students have to attend a CCI class called the Bateman Case Study Project twice a week.

Both teams have spent hours working on their Bateman project throughout the semester, helping middle school students understand bullying and how to stop it. The Bateman teams are nearing the end of the project. Now all they have to do is finish their casebooks and send them in to be judged on March 22. The two Kent State teams are included in the 75 teams participating in this year’s competition.

“I am really excited to see if we placed,” said Bethany Johnson, junior public relations major and Bateman Gold team member. “It is a great opportunity to be able to compete against some of these really great colleges.”

Contact Abby Bradford at [email protected].