Samford Students Raising Awareness Through National Competition

Through a national competition, a group of Samford University students are raising awareness for a local organization, Neighborhood Housing Services of Birmingham. NHSB is the local chapter of the national organization Home Matters. Home Matters’ mission is to build awareness and raise funds for more affordable homes and better communities across the nation.

As part of their capstone public relations class, Cameron Cross, Bailey Fuqua, Corry Mulligan, Taylor Pigman and Cassady Weldon had to choose a client and develop a public relations campaign for them.

The team decided to accept the Public Relations Student Society of America’s challenge to colleges and universities nationwide and develop a campaign for Home Matters as part of the 2015 Bateman Case Study Competition. Contestants were given the choice to partner with Home Matters nationally or with a local chapter. Samford’s team chose to partner with Birmingham’s local chapter, NHSB.

Through the Competition, the students developed the Unlock Birmingham campaign. The Unlock Birmingham campaign, which runs during the month of February, will raise awareness of market-rate housing opportunities in Birmingham provided by Neighborhood Housing Services of Birmingham.

“We were able to get community involvement with our Unlock Birmingham campaign and having the opportunity to watch the community come together in support of Unlock Birmingham and Neighborhood Housing Services has been great,” Pigman said.

As part of Unlock Birmingham, the team handed out silver keys to raise awareness for NHSB and used #KeysToTheSteelCity on social media. During February, they facilitated an art exhibition at the Birmingham Museum of Art. A portion of the paintings displayed were created by students at Phillip’s Academy. In addition, NHSB was featured at a Samford baseball game where Phillip’s Academy students were invited to attend.

The Bateman competition began in the fall semester, and research and planning were completed in November through January. Implementation of the campaign occurs in February and final campaigns – including research, planning, implementation and evaluation – are to be submitted to PRSSA Headquarters in New York City by the end of March.

The top three finalists will travel to New York in May to present their campaigns. The first place team will receive $2,500 and a trophy. The second place team will receive $1,500 and a plaque, and the third place team will receive $1,000 and a plaque. All teams will be recognized at the PRSSA National Conference.

For more information, follow @unlockbham on Twitter.