The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

February 16, 2013

MSU students test anti-bullying effort at local elementary schools

MANKATO — A group of five Minnesota State University students have developed an anti-bullying campaign, called “Own Your Role,” as part of a nationwide public relations competition.

But they’ve also started putting the campaign to practice locally at Garfield Elementary School in North Mankato, said Elise Konerza, MSU Public Relations Student Society of America president. And their next stop is Franklin Elementary.

“Our goal is to generate a full-blown public relations campaign surrounding the idea of raising awareness of the consequences of bullying,” said Lindsay Peterson, vice president of the MSU PRSSA.

The primary audience of the campaign is students, and they selected sixth-grade as the major focus because that’s the age when bullying, and especially cyber-bullying, become more prevalent, they said.

During the students’ first visit to Garfield recently, they gave a short presentation on “Own Your Role” and what it means to be a victim, a bully, a bystander and a cycle-breaker. They also performed a skit.

The MSU students are returning to Garfield Friday to have the sixth-graders sign “Own Your Role” pledges to help stop bullying, Konerza said. The pledges are good for free tickets to a Maverick men’s basketball game Saturday, where the public is encouraged to wear orange in support of the campaign.

The group will visit Franklin Wednesday for presentations and student pledges.

The students have documented and submitted the campaign to The Bateman Case Study Competition, which is conducted annually by the Public Relations Student Society of America and challenges teams of students across the nation to conduct a public relations campaign with varying themes each year. This year’s theme is bullying, and it’s the first year the MSU PRSSA students participated.

“We wanted to be really ambitious, and the theme of the campaign was anti-bullying, and so we thought it would be a very powerful message, especially in Minnesota with the (Bullying) Task Force,” Konerza said.

 

Search for Own Your Role on Facebook or visit www.ownyourrole.com for more information.

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