Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Viking Voices: Salem State Students Help Veterans Podcast

In our continuing conversations about the great things that are going on at Salem State University we've been meeting a number of individuals who are making a real difference for the campus community and beyond. A few weeks back I reminded us that President Meservey set out as one of the priorities for the University at her inauguration that, "It is our duty to ensure that students understand the importance of community involvement, and that they are well versed in the privileges and responsibilities that come with citizenship in a democratic republic." 

In the audio podcast that you may listen to using the links below, we hear from a group of students and their faculty advocate who are an exemplar of the ideals that President Meservey is championing. What started as a class project has morphed into a campaign with multiple effective strategies that are helping to change people's perceptions of veterans. 

Robert E. Brown, Ph.D.
Robert E. Brown, Ph.D. who is a professor in the Communications Department at Salem State University, and the project's mentor put the challenge succinctly when he said, "The conversation about veterans has been almost entirely negative, it has been about Veterans Affairs, suicide, PTSD, addiction, all these things that veterans have been challenged with." Although intended to bring light to injustice, Dr. Brown continues, "It has had the unintended consequence of distancing veterans and making them seem less employable, less valuable to the community, in fact worrisome, dangerous even ... This is the last thing that we want."

The student group accepted Professor Brown's encouragement and have entered the Bateman Case Study Competition which is sponsored by the Public Relations Society of America. With the intent of achieving a positive social goal, the Bateman Challenge is the, "premier national case study competition for public relations students," that gives students, "an opportunity to apply classroom education and internship experiences ... to research, plan, implement and evaluate a comprehensive public relations campaign."  

For these Salem State University students the results are a set of activities that are changing perspectives, educating the students and their peers, helping veterans, and has caught the attention of media professionalsProfessor Brown said that these students are changing the conversation. "As far as I know," Brown remarks, "these students are involved in the only campaign to  raise awareness of veterans accomplishment." 

The students have gained local notoriety from their efforts. They will attend a gala during the Public Relations Society of America Northeast District Conclave in June. Please set aside a few minutes of your time to listen to their story.

The group includes students:   

Mark Casella
Gerald Fallon Jr.
Shannon Gallagher
Kristen Pustizzi


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Thanks for checking out this week's Viking Voices. I hope you'll listen to the full audio podcast

I am looking forward to our next conversation.You can join in the conversation by following this blog and checking out the many social media outlets available to our Salem State community. A short list of some of these venues are below.

Go Vikings!

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