Editor’s note: Students in Assistant Teaching Professor Beth Haag’s Public Relations Writing (P R 321) course practiced writing for public relations campaigns by serving as Cyclones Care student ambassadors during the spring 2021 semester. This post has been published with permission.
By Kaitlin Wille, junior in public relations
In an effort to show Cyclones Care and to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 at Iowa State, we experienced a revised academic calendar and a more digital world this year.
We turned the brand name “Zoom” into a verb. We entered multiple breakout rooms a day without ever leaving the physical one we’re in. And we did it with ease (even if we sometimes had to mute our mics and turn off our cameras).
I’m extremely extroverted. I would rather be in a crowd than in a corner. So when I thought COVID-19 was going to take away most of my social interactions as a student, I felt anxiety. However, I soon found that opportunity begins where you make it and there are silver linings in the setbacks. But you have to look for them.
For me, it was working on a team research project over the extended winter break from the comfort of wherever I wanted to be. Through the 2021 Bateman Case Study Competition, I was able to refine my communication skills in many ways.
This annual competition is organized by the Public Relations Student Society of America for public relations students. It provides an opportunity to apply classroom education and internship experiences to create and implement a full public relations campaign.
Over the winter, our ISU chapter assembled a team of members to compete. I had never met these students before, but they quickly became my friends and trusted resources. With the help of established professionals in the field as our advisers, we set out to research and implement. And that’s just what we did.
Shortly into our team sessions, I learned how handy technology can be, and I’m saying that as a part of Generation Z. Had we been trying to meet in person, it would have taken more effort to find a spot for all of us to meet at the same time. Zoom meetings made it incredibly convenient, and in some cases, expanded the possibilities. (One of our team members, Abigail, even lived in Oregon for the entirety of the competition!)
I remember when I was once struggling with our secondary research. I shot a quick text to our team group chat, and we met for 15 minutes to resolve the problem together. While that could have occurred before the era of online learning, it is now becoming the standard and something we are very used to.
Another cool thing we were able to pull off was observing our implementation process. Our team crafted a professional development seminar on civility, the topic of the 2021 Bateman Case Study Competition. I was fortunate enough to sit in on a Zoom meeting with staff at an advertising agency in Des Moines. I watched as they tackled the tough topics we set before them and listened in on important conversations that improved workplace discourse.
I had these opportunities as a Greenlee student because I had an extra month off from school, a little extra free time, a computer and a willingness to make something good out of the current academic situation.
I found the silver lining and continued to enjoy my adventure at Iowa State. I turned on my camera and gave my unmuted, unfiltered, undivided attention to the world that kept spinning, despite everything changing within it.
Kaitlin Wille is a junior majoring in public relations. She was recently elected recruitment chair for ISU’s PRSSA chapter, served as a Cyclones Care ambassador in the spring 2021 semester through Greenlee’s Public Relations Writing course, and is involved in Cardinal Eats, a campus food magazine. She’s passionate about people and writing and especially loves being a Cyclone.