Student communicators win state PSA contest encouraging voter registration
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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.
Amber Narro, Assistant Professor of Communication
Public Relations Writing Class: Communication 463
When Assistant Professor of Communication Amber Narro announced to her public relations writing class early in the semester the possibility of producing a video public service announcement on voter registration, some students were a bit nervous. With an extremely tight deadline to come up with an idea and actually produce a 30-second video, the task seemed daunting.
With Narro’s strong encouragement, however, the student communicators worked together to write, shoot video, narrate, and edit a motivational public service announcement that took first place in a statewide competition sponsored by the Secretary of State’s Office to produce a public service announcement encouraging citizens to register to vote.
Narro said she presented the proposal to the students as an optional project. She challenged them to find a way to work together under the stress of a tight deadline. The students elected to accept the challenge and began brainstorming ideas for the PSA.
“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.”
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 was 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.”
Secretary of State Tom Schedler was pleased with the outcome.
“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 Schedler. “The public service announcement they submitted was informative, creative, and well produced. I hope this learning experience enhanced the students’ interest in the Presidential Election and will inspire them to become lifelong voters.”
“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.”