PR Class Creates Inclusive Campaign for Lavery Library

April 8, 2022

Students in Professor Arien Rozelle’s PR Research and Planning (COMM472) course partnered with Lavery Library on a semester-long project to make the library more welcoming to people of diverse backgrounds.

Students stop by tables at Lavery Library's Diversity Fest!

Students worked in “agencies” all semester to research, plan, execute, and measure public relations campaigns. In order to gather primary research, earlier this semester students conducted focus groups and distributed a campus-wide survey. Based on their findings, they planned campaigns to help their client achieve their objective.

COMM472 covers the application of advanced public relations theories and concepts to the practice of public relations. It also covers the use of basic research methods in developing public relations campaigns. The course is designed for students to implement and demonstrate the critical thinking, writing, research, analysis, and comprehension skills they’ve acquired in public relations, media, and communication courses. Students implement the four-step public relations process (research, planning, implementation, and evaluation) in the creation and execution of a public relations campaign for a client.

“This course provides students with an opportunity to apply what they’ve learned and gain real hands-on experience with a client. Over the years, COMM472 has partnered with a wide variety of clients, but this semester students were lucky enough to be able to give back to campus through a partnership with Lavery Library,” said Rozelle. “This partnership had the added benefit of a diversity, equity, and inclusion focus, allowing students to make an even greater impact campus-wide.”

Melissa Jadlos, director of Lavery Library, said the staff really enjoyed working with the students.

“It was great to see their professional skills develop over the semester.  We learned a lot about students’ perception of the library and will continue to use some of the strategies suggested by the firms in the future,” said Jadlos.

The agency Reel Relations, comprised of Bryce Macpherson, Mary Clare Boyle, Nicole Smith, and Shannon Munier, focused their campaign on increasing awareness of Lavery Library resources and its stance on diversity, equity, and inclusion. Their campaign objectives were to change student perception of the Library from “just a building,” or neutral space, to a more inclusive environment for students and increase student engagement with major-specific librarians.

To achieve this, they developed the tagline “More than just a library, it’s a welcoming space for all!” which was used throughout all aspects of the campaign. They created a diversity statement, which was shared on the Library’s Instagram account; two newsletters (one focusing on the use of library resources and the other on the diversity statement); a new sign for out in front of the Library; leaflets for the library, a TV monitor slide implemented across campus, and posters for residence halls reinforcing the diversity statement and new sign; a post on Instagram highlighting National Library Workers Day; followed by Instagram stories highlighting each librarian and their favorite part of the Library plus what they do to make it a more inclusive and welcoming environment.

“Through collaboration with the library and strong group planning, we were able to create and implement a campaign with features that we hope will outlive our course,” said Smith, marketing research manager for Reel Relations. 

Michaela Meleca, Emily Passmore, Jessica D’Amico, and Ali Short of Celestial Public Relations hosted the first-ever Diversity Fest at Lavery Library on Tuesday, April 5. Diversity Fest included a multi-table display showcasing works from diverse authors, free sweet treats, and free laptop stickers. Several of the College’s affinity clubs, including the Asian Student Union and the Black Student Union, also participated in the event. To ensure successful completion of the event, students utilized a variety of strategies and tactics, such as implementing a literature scavenger hunt to encourage students to engage with the literature displays, offering a $50 Crumbl Cookie gift card to students as an incentive to complete the scavenger hunt, and promoting the event via email, social media, and posters.

“This experience allowed us to take the information that we learned in class and apply it to real life. The best part of it all was seeing our vision come to life at Diversity Fest and knowing that our hard work paid off,” said Short, social media coordinator for Celestial Public Relations.

Lavishly Done PR, comprised of students Hannah Moyer, Jack Kelleher, Juliana Beu, and Kelsey Braun, created a series of events beginning with ‘Bring a Friend to the Library,’ where students were encouraged to use their social media to post a selfie with their friends, use the hashtag #LaveryServices, and tag the Library for the chance to win their own study room during the last week of classes. The second event, ‘Meet Your Librarian,’ was an informal meet and greet to connect students with the librarian in their major. QR codes with information about each librarian were provided at the event, and spread around campus to share more information. The event series concluded with ‘Free Candy Day’ at the library.

“Based on the research we conducted initially, we were able to make data-driven decisions in order to maximize the success of each event,” said Kelleher, Lavishly Done PR marketing coordinator. 

With their campaigns now completed, students will measure their results and present their findings at the Student Research Symposium on Friday, April 22.

“This experience helped to enhance students’ ability to design, carry out, and analyze a campaign meant to address a client need,” said Rozelle. “It was a delight to work with Lavery Library as our partner on this important project as they embark on some exciting upcoming changes and renovations.”