Bellisario College of Communications

Students craft award-winning organ donor campaign

A group of public relations students from the College of Communications who crafted and implemented a campaign about organ donation as part of a national contest in April were announced as winners of that competition this month.

Students in a spring semester section of COMM 473, Public Relations Campaigns, taught by Renea Nichols, conceived and coordinated the “Life Begins with psU” campaign throughout National Organ Donor Month in April.

The campaign, through a partnership with the Gift of Life Donor Program (a non-profit program responsible for recovering and distributing organs and tissues used in life-saving and life-enhancing transplants), exposed messages to more than 100,000 Penn State students, faculty and staff. Awareness efforts included a presence at the Blue-White Game, the annual Movin’ On concert and information tables at the HUB-Robeson Center.

In addition, students -- several of whom are members of the Lawrence G. Foster Chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) housed in the College of Communications -- coordinated a movie night on campus, messages on Facebook and YouTube, and secured a proclamation from State College Mayor Bill Welch.

Eight advertising/public relations students guided Penn State’s effort in the competition. They were: Brandon Bernola, Olivia Falcione, Laura Henderson, Allison Kershner, Han Ma, Michael McLaughlin, Jess Mikula and Shin Yoshida.

The winners will receive their award, which includes a $400 prize for Penn State’s PRSSA chapter, at the PRSSA fall conference in November in San Diego.

In 2007, Penn State placed second in the competition, which is conducted by Rowan University in Glassboro, N.J. to promote awareness of organ and tissue donation on college campuses across the nation.


A student-led team created an award-winning campaign to increase awareness about organ donation. Credit: Penn StateCreative Commons

Last Updated November 18, 2010