Senior public relations class finds client in Cleveland Clinic

Brittany Senary

After four years of classes, students in one class must put everything they learned to the test.

Nineteen senior public relations students in a class called Public Relations Campaigns presented their campaigns Friday for their client: the Cleveland Clinic. The students were split into four groups and then worked all semester on their campaigns.

The Cleveland Clinic Office of Civic Education Initiatives promotes education throughout Northeast Ohio. The organization needed a better way to reach children and young adults to inform them about the health care industry and opportunities they offer, so the students came up with solutions to their problems.

Each group had 20 minutes to present their campaign, consisting of research, objectives, strategies and tactics.

After the presentation, the judges — four people from the Office of Civic Education Initiatives and five outside professionals — asked the group questions.

The Daybreak Communications group presented the winning campaign. Noah Grieco, senior public relations major and a member of Daybreak Communications, said he thought his group’s presentation went well.

“The presentation was excellent,” Grieco said. “I couldn’t have hoped for anything more. The judges were very engaged.”

Grieco also thought this class brought together all of the skill classes such as writing, media relations, tactics and online tactics.

Michele Ewing, public relations assistant professor, said this course is a capstone class because it brings together all of the skills students have learned .

“The students use all of the skills they have learned in this class,” Ewing said. “It is the last one before students move on to the real world.”

Ewing finds the clients for the class through networking.

“We try to find clients like the Cleveland Clinic that can work with students and have time for them,” Ewing said.

The clients also provide sponsorship for the class.

“Sponsorship helps to pay for case books and things like focus groups so students are not paying out of their pockets,” Ewing said.

The client, Rosalind Strickland, senior director of the Office of Civic Education Initiatives, said she has kept in contact with the students in the class by speaking to them and providing them with information to help with their campaign.

But one group in particular stood out to Strickland.

“Each group had a different focus,” Strickland said. “They turned the challenge into an opportunity. The last group (Daybreak Communications) stood out because they started at home. They centered their focus on internal communications.”

Strickland said she was looking for creativity and a solution that would be practical.

“I wanted fresh eyes to look at this challenge,” she said. “I was looking for the link between creativity and research and how efficient and practical it was.

“I plan on staying in touch with the students,” Strickland said. “It is a good idea for students to see how their hard work comes to life and to see how it lives. I don’t see this as the end; I see it as the beginning.”

Contact College of Communication and Information reporter Brittany Senary at [email protected].