Most undergraduate students are fortunate enough to have a solid roof and a safe place
to live when they go home after class each day, but some Lubbock residents have living
situations that are more unstable. One class in the College of Media & Communication
intends to make a difference for these families.
Undergraduates of PR 4412 (Public Relations Campaigns), led by Jo Grant Langston, associate professor of practice in the department of public relations, are working to rebuild and strengthen the local student chapter of Habitat for Humanity, a nonprofit group focused on providing affordable housing for low- to middle-income people in the Hub City area.
“The local student chapter needs to grow and this class is hoping to help with that,” Langston said. “I'm a big fan of nonprofits. I believe in them and in their missions so I seek them out as possible clients for this class.”
Langston is also a firm believer in taking her PR students off-campus for experiences beyond the University.
“Real life happens outside the classroom and outside the CoMC building, and as professionals, students will be required to leave their offices,” she explained. “I'd like the students to do the same in this course.”
As one of several sections of this capstone course, Langston's approach is slightly different from others in that she divides her class into four teams and they vie against each other throughout the semester to win the client.
“Each team has to have that competitive edge to win,” she said. “They pitch their ideas to the real-life client (Habitat in this case), and the client then chooses which team they'd like to work with.”
As the final class in the public relations' curriculum, the Campaigns class is a capstone course for PR majors that combines different aspects of a typical campaign into one project: the research, the strategy, and the tactics.
Every team is required to complete each part of a public relations plan: conduct a situation analysis; write up a research proposal followed by a research report; develop the campaign plan; build the compiled, comprehensive campaign book and finally to pitch their campaign to the client.
“In order to succeed, students need to see where the client does their work,” Langston said. “They need to see that these houses are not 2200 square feet – they are 900 square feet, and students need to learn that for every Habitat client to get their own solid home is a huge win for these families.”
As a capstone class, most of the students involved will be graduating this fall and Langston believes that taking the class makes a big impression on them.
“I hope these students take a mission of servitude with them when they graduate, and that they develop a sense of the world that is more than this little sphere around them,” she said.
“I know from the curriculum and the immense opportunities that we offer, students
are taught to be big thinkers, and to take on challenges. I love it.
“The students belong to the college – they don't belong just to me, and our grads are everywhere and very successful, bearing our banners far and wide. I am proud of them.”