Southeastern student communicators win state PSA contest
Contact: Rene Abadie
Date: November 1, 2012
AWARD-WINNING TEAM – Members of a Southeastern Louisiana University public relations class put together a 30-second public service announcement on voter registration that won a statewide competition sponsored by the Louisiana Secretary of State. Pictured are, front row, from left: Anna Guillot, Melissa Daigle, Stephony Mark, Rachel Montoya, Adrienne Rousse, Maya Miller and Marco Scott; back row, from left: Taylor Thornton, Dan Marchese, Megan Romaire, Stephani Holloway, Hillary Cowart, Regan Lesaichere, Nikki Cowart, Malik Harness and Ryan Zellner.
HAMMOND – A team of Southeastern Louisiana University communication students took first place in a statewide competition to produce a 30-second public service announcement encouraging citizens to register to vote.
Amber Narro, associate professor of communication, received a notice about the contest from the Louisiana Secretary of State's office, the agency in charge of elections, and presented it to the students in her public relations writing class as an optional project. The students elected to accept the challenge and began brainstorming ideas for the PSA.
"I am so proud of the students at Southeastern Louisiana University for submitting the winning entry in our Voter Registration and Participation PSA competition," said Secretary of State Tom Schedler. "The public service announcement they submitted was informative, creative, and well-produced. I hope this learning experience enhanced the students' interest in the November 6th Presidential Election and will inspire them to become lifelong voters."
"I was very excited about participating in the contest," said senior Malik Harness of New Orleans, who is majoring in organizational communication and public relations. "I'm a firm believer that people remember things they see a lot longer than things they hear. Registering to vote is so important and it affects everyone."
Narro said the group had limited time to brainstorm, consolidate their ideas, and then produce the video. She challenged them to find a way to work together under the stress of a tight deadline.
The video features students writing various issue-related key words -- such as health care, defense, and national debt -- on their hands, while a narrator emphasizes that "when you vote, everything is in your hands." The video can be seen on YouTube under the key term "Southeastern Voter Registration" and has been distributed to media statewide by the Secretary of State's Office.
Slidell junior Ryan Zellner, who narrated the piece, said the class considered various approaches, including humorous and serious, finally deciding to take a more motivational approach.
"We decided that the election itself is up to us," he added. "Literally, the vote is in our 'hands,' and it's up to us to do something with it."
Pulling off a group project this quickly was no small achievement, explained Adrienne Rousse, a junior from Cut Off, who called the project a real team effort that used the students' various strengths.
"The day we put the video together, some of us went to the Student Union to shoot footage and others were in class putting together the video and recording the voice over," she said. "Getting a group that large to work together can be very difficult, but we work well together because we have one thing in common: we're all communication majors, and we were already used to working together."
"This was truly a team effort," Narro said. "They broke the project down into individual responsibilities and worked to build the final product. I am so proud of their work."