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MSU student group uses PR project to draw attention to multiculturalism

April 3, 2024
<p>PR senior Cameron Oade, president of MSU’s division of the PRSSA, sits down for a portrait in Room 151 of the Communication Arts and Sciences Building on March 26, 2024.</p>

PR senior Cameron Oade, president of MSU’s division of the PRSSA, sits down for a portrait in Room 151 of the Communication Arts and Sciences Building on March 26, 2024.

Michigan State University's division of the Public Relations Student Society of America, or PRSSA, competed in a public relations case study competition to draw attention to multicultural topics from Feb. 5 to March 25.

The Bateman Case Study Competition, a national event put on yearly by PRSSA, chooses a subject for their chapters to test their skills and generate an effective PR campaign around. This year, the subject of the competition was Culturs magazine.

Culturs is a publication that focuses its attention on stories of intersectional identities— mainly centered on people with multiethnic, multicultural, mixed-race or geographically mobile identities. The organization chose to leave the “e” out of the word Culturs to represent the often hidden diversities within their storytellers and audience.

Writing multicultural stories lends more diverse voices to a narrative, but with it comes the challenge of making these voices heard.

PR senior and MSU Bateman Team Captain Cameron Oade said he and his team didn’t have the opportunity to compete last year following the campus shooting that occurred on Feb. 13. The multicultural focus of this year’s subject got him excited to get going again, he said.

“I think that it’s really important, not just for me, but for all college students to read and learn more about— just hear perspectives from people across the world,” Oade said.

Curiosity, regardless of initial interest level, yields understanding, he said.

“When you get the chance to deep dive into something, whether it's something you think you're going to be interested in or not, you can find value in it,” Oade said.

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MSU PRSSA showcased the value of Culturs by engaging students in a way that spoke to them. The team engrossed students in conversations during a pop-up cookie giveaway at Brody and even brought in multicultural student organization leaders for a panel discussion.

PR senior and Bateman Team Member Evelyn Sowerby said the panel was built to appeal to the student view.

“I feel like one of the main goals for all of us is to get like a student view on these issues that maybe you can't get like just from the magazine because the stories are written about like an older population I would say,” Sowerby said. “This is kind of like (a way) to merge the magazine and MSU.”

Connecting the multicultural perspective to student experiences was a way to further the ideals behind the magazine, she said.

"Mainly what we've been posting on our social media is just stories that have already been written by Culturs, but this kind of gives us an opportunity to gain student stories and that should be interesting for everyone to watch,” Sowerby said.

Finance junior and American Albanian student organization member Jake Spencer said that he worries about how diverse the media people consume is.

“I think that the media I see on my phone and my computer matches what I think my phone wants me to see,” Spencer said. “So unless I'm intentionally stepping out of my echo chamber to learn about other things from a different point of view, I don't think it'll happen.”

Oade hopes his team’s work brings awareness to encourage students to step outside of their bubble.

“I hope that they are aware of Culturs, because that means we did our job and they get more exposure to it,” Oade said. “It's great to hear perspectives and stories of people that aren't from areas that are familiar to you because I feel like that it just opens your eyes to the world and gives you a more well-rounded perspective.”

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