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The University of Alabama Wins Top Prize in 2016 Bateman Case Study Competition

May 23, 2016

NEW YORK (May 23, 2016) — The Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) is proud to announce that The University of Alabama has been selected as the first place winner of the PRSSA 2016 Bateman Case Study Competition. Loyola University New Orleans won second place and Samford University won third place.

This year’s Bateman Case Study Competition challenged students to develop and present a comprehensive public relations campaign to raise campus and community awareness about Student Veterans of America (SVA) and its programs, making veterans and their families informed consumers of higher education. The Competition was sponsored by The Plank Center for Leadership in Public Relations (The Plank Center) and Edelman.

Seventy teams from across the country developed strategies to support SVA in its mission to share student veteran information around the globe, as well as to increase the support and networks for these deserving individuals. Each team was judged on their research, creation, implementation and evaluation of a public relations campaign. The top three finalist teams were invited to Chicago to present to representatives from SVA, Edelman, The Plank Center and PRSA.

In support of the SVA movement, The University of Alabama team created and executed a public relations campaign to raise awareness for student veterans, SVA and the Campus Veterans Association (CVA) with the help of a chair. The ‘In The Chair’ campaign encouraged students and faculty to discuss their own personal connection to the military and provided student veterans with a voice on campus.

“Every experiential learning opportunity provides great teaching to students, but this project was special because of the topic,” said University of Alabama Bateman Team Adviser Teri K. Henley, APR. “Campus veterans are a diversity group that is so often overlooked. And with more than 1,000 campus veterans at The University of Alabama, this campaign opened the entire campus’ eyes to a previously invisible issue. We not only focused in the veterans themselves, but on how everyone has a connection to a veteran.”

The winning campaign also raised money for the CVA chapter, helped increase the number of CVA members and initiated the request for the installation of a POW/MIA chair in The University of Alabama’s athletic stadiums.

University of Alabama Graduation

(University of Alabama Bateman Team Members Graduating)

The Loyola University New Orleans campaign revitalized the campus SVA chapter by fostering camaraderie and support for its members. The celebration organized by the team sparked campus conversation that shifted the narrative away from veteran stereotypes. The Samford University campaign focused on raising awareness of student veterans and the needs they face both on college campuses and within the Birmingham community.

“This partnership with PRSSA has been especially meaningful for us because we realize that there is no better place to bridge the military-civilian divide than on a college campus,” said Student Veterans of America President and CEO, Jared Lyon. “Thanks to the GI Bill, over a million veterans are on campuses and earning degrees, connected to their communities, and in direct contact with other young people. We loved hearing the stories of how these campaigns successfully broke down silos on campuses and changed existing perceptions of the military and veterans. Because of the Bateman Competition, 70 campuses now know that student veterans are more similar to them than not and see veterans as leaders on their campuses. These messages will resonate nationwide as we tell the stories of student veteran success, contributions to their campuses and communities, and their connections to other students. We are honored to have been selected as the client for this year’s Bateman Competition and are grateful to PRSSA, Edelman, The Plank Center and all of the hard-working teams for their commitment to student veteran success.”

As the first-place team, The University of Alabama team received a $3,500 monetary prize. The Loyola University New Orleans team received $2,500 and the Samford University team received $1,500. Also, all honorable mention recipients were offered a complimentary PRSA Associate Membership.

“Today’s veterans possess the skills and experience needed to truly impact society, just as my father, Dan Edelman, did when he returned home after serving in World War II and founded Edelman,” said John Edelman, Managing Director, Global Engagement and Corporate Responsibility at Edelman. “The partnership with SVA for this year’s Bateman competition was an opportune moment to bring awareness to students about their student veteran peers and identify communications solutions to some of SVA’s core challenges and opportunities. We were greatly impressed by all three finalist teams and look forward to working with SVA to identify the campaign insights and strategies that will best serve the organization moving forward.”

The Bateman Case Study Competition originated in 1973 as a National Case Study, allowing PRSSA members to exercise the analytical skills required for public relations problem solving. In 1983, the name of the Competition was changed to honor the late J. Carroll Bateman, APR. Bateman was a past president of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) and was instrumental in the founding of PRSSA. This Competition has partnered with organizations such as Home Matters, Fiserv, United Way Worldwide, Ally Financial, U.S. Census Bureau and more.

The three finalists will be recognized at an awards ceremony during the PRSSA 2016 National Conference, to be held in Indianapolis, Oct. 21–25. For additional information about the PRSSA 2016 Bateman Case Study Competition, visit the PRSSA website. The campaign summaries from the three finalist teams soon will be available on the PRSSA website for the public to view.

About the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA)
The Public Relations Student Society of America (www.prssa.org) is the foremost organization for students interested in public relations and communications. Founded in 1968 by its parent organization, the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), PRSSA includes more than 11,000 student members and advisers, and is active at more than 340 colleges and universities.

About Student Veterans of America
SVA is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit coalition of more than 1,300 student veteran chapters, representing over 540,000 veterans in higher education across the country. SVA’s mission is to provide military veterans with the resources, support and advocacy to ease veteran and active military students’ transition into higher education, and leverage military experience to launch successful careers in high-demand fields after graduation. For more information, visit us at www.studentveterans.org and follow us on Twitter @studentvets.

About The Plank Center for Leadership in Public Relations
The Plank Center is the leading international resource for practitioners, educators and students who are passionate about advancing their careers and the public relations profession. Its mission is to help develop and recognize outstanding diverse public relations leaders, role models and mentors to advance ethical public relations in an evolving, global society.

About Edelman
Edelman is a leading global communications marketing firm with more than 5,500 employees in 65 cities worldwide. Edelman partners with many of the world’s largest and emerging businesses and organizations, helping them evolve, promote and protect their brands and reputations.

Edelman was named one of Advertising Age’s “Agency to Watch” in 2014; one of Forbes’ “14 Most Influential Agencies of 2014”; and The Holmes Report’s “2013 Global Agency of the Year.” Edelman was awarded the Grand Prix Cannes Lion for PR in 2014 and was among Glassdoor’s “Best Places to Work” for the third time in 2014. Edelman owns specialty firms Edelman Berland (research) and United Entertainment Group (entertainment, sports, experiential), a joint venture with United Talent Agency.