GMU Students Dive into PR and Come Up with Results

Students Raise Funds for Cancer Charities, Collect Shoes for the Needy, Launch Cycling Website, Promote Local Music and More

GMU Students Dive into PR and Come Up with Results

CONTACT:  Suzanne Lowery Mims.


            (Fairfax, VA - May 9, 2012)  -- In just 28 days, George Mason University students completed strategic projects which raised more than $2,000 for a one-woman cancer charity, collected 317 pairs of shoes for the needy, launched a bicycling community website, promoted recent award-winning music artists and more, all in a Spring semester foundation course in public relations.

            The IIIB's, a Loudoun County-based charity, was the recipient of an infusion of awareness and funds to help provide baskets of comfort items to cancer patients throughout the region.  IIIB's founder Carolyn Cole-Rodenburg said the student project not only raised funds but also "helped us to connect with others in the community."    The team of six students joined with Lucky's Sports Theater Bar and Grille in Springfield for a one-night event, which included a raffle for an IPad and gifts and services from local retail shops and vendors as well as the restaurant's contribution based on the night's receipts. 

            "The students were dogged in their pursuit of results for their client," said Suzanne Lowery Mims, one of the instructors of the Principles of Public Relations course.  Mims said the IIIB's project helped the students appreciate how the right strategy and exhaustive attention to detail are among the ingredients for success.  Junior Keli Harris said she learned that public relations could be "very exhausting but the pay off at the end makes it worth it all." 

            Another student team helped "paint the campus purple" to publicize the GMU Relay for Life all night cancer charity event, which raised over $85,000.  More than 300 pairs of shoes were collected for Soles4Souls, an international charity that collects and distributes shoes to the needy worldwide.  "We learned the importance of teamwork and asking for help," said junior Ariel Brown.  "We were surprised by how many more yes-es we received than noes."

            The Pedal Collective, an online bicycling community, was started recently by senior John Paisley to fuse his "passion for cycling with good causes and good company."  Paisley's team created a 10 mile ride and happy hour event to drive awareness and traffic to the new website. 

            Social media was the primary tactic for teams promoting increased awareness of a full service recording studio, House DC and their award-winning artists; a Vienna-based cooking school called Culinaria; and a new business information analytics tool called Qbica by start-up Kootio.

            Other student teams served as the in-house public relations agency for campus organizations such as HER CAMPUS, an online college women's magazine; Social Venture Capital (SVC), GMU's social entrepreneurship consulting group; Alpha Kappa Psi, a new business fraternity; Bare Naked Ladies, a newly-chartered group committed to promoting positive body image; and, the campus chapter of a Pacific Asian women's sorority. 

            "Students chose clients about whom they were passionate which helped drive the energy needed to execute this hands-on experience -- especially at the end of the semester," said Mims who noted that all of the projects were executed in just three to four weeks.

            Principles of Public Relations (COMM 330) is the junior-level pre-requisite for upper level public relations courses and provides a foundation in the theories and practices of public relations.