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Michigan State University Student Radio

Impact 89FM | WDBM-FM

Michigan State University Student Radio

Impact 89FM | WDBM-FM

Michigan State University Student Radio

Impact 89FM | WDBM-FM

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Eagle Spirit dancer Migizii Kwe dances with the audience at this years East Lansing Art Festival. Photo credit: Samantha Ku/WDBM
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MSU club promotes multicultural magazine through national competition

Michigan State University’s chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) is participating in the Bateman Case Study Competition, a national competition between the other collegiate chapters of PRSSA.

Since its beginning in 1973, the competition has encouraged aspiring public relations students to help research, plan, implement and evaluate a public relations campaign for a real-world client.

This year, the competition will be focused on Culturs Magazine, a multicultural and multiethnic publication that aims to tell diverse and inclusive stories.

Capital City Communications members Brooke Tyszkiewicz and Lilly Gold promote Culturs Magazine at a pop-up event in the International Center. Photo Credit: Molly Wright/WDBM

MSU entered two teams of five students in the competition who will compete in designing a campaign for Culturs. One of the teams, Capital City Communications, is working on promoting the magazine on campus by encouraging cultural conversations among students and cultivating multicultural and multiethnic student representation using public relations strategies.

“This campaign allows us to introduce students to this publication and help those who are multicultural or multiethnic, or whatever they identify as, to an outlet of expression and inclusivity, which I sincerely appreciate,” said Capital City Communications co-captain Whitney Byard.

Photo of promotional materials like magazines and pamphlets on a table.
Capital City Communications’ promotional materials for Culturs Magazine. Photo Credit: Molly Wright/WDBM

“I came from a school that lacked diversity, and Michigan State surely opposes that,” she said. “I have always felt like I do not completely check the Korean box or the white box, so seeing a publication open to every version of multi- or mixed-race and cultures is refreshing.”

Capital City Communications’ work with Culturs Magazine included creating a social media campaign called #EmbraceyourCulturs to promote the magazine on campus and hosting numerous in person events across campus.

The social media aspect of the campaign was focused on Instagram and features posts, reels, and stories on the @msuculturs account. It used #EmbraceyourCulturs to generate social media interactions and foster cultural connections among students. The account that engaged with the hashtag the most by March 5 received a $25 Raising Canes gift card. The campaign hoped to gain 500 followers on the account and have 500 media interactions, including reposts, comments, and hashtag usage.

For the competition, the team submitted a brief which studied the social media engagement from their pop-up events held on Feb. 7 and 12 in the International Center.

“The goal of this campaign is to simplify and encourage cultural conversations,” Byard said. “By hosting a pop-up event in a very public, bustling area, we catch a diverse range of students with varying interests. We talked to many students who do not have registered student organizations to represent them or communications majors who have already heard of the publication.”

At the events, students had the opportunity to learn more about Culturs Magazine and participate in three different giveaways; one included students filling out a slip indicating what they embraced the most about their culture to be entered in a drawing for a $50 Nike gift card.

“We loved reading these answers and using students’ responses to curate our social media content towards the categories students embrace and appreciate most. This campaign helpes students start cultural conversations that are usually internal,” Byard said.

The main event included a 4-by-8 map, where students could place a pin showing where they have a cultural affiliation or identify as being from. According to Byard, the map encouraged conversation and relationships between students pinning the same area while also providing the team with a view of the cultural diversity at the university.

At the pop-up event, students were encouraged to place notes alongside their pins, indicating ways they embrace their cultures. Photo Credit: Molly Wright/WDBM

“The first event was successful, and we had a ton of fun doing it,” said Byard. “We had around 150 pins placed on the map, and nearly 90 people entered the giveaway. Our team was pleasantly surprised by the excitement around the map. It was rewarding and fun to see students passing by, interested in what was happening, and engaging in cultural conversations with other students.”

The pop-up events also tied into the campaign’s social media plan, providing a place for students to take photos in front of the map and a prop Polaroid frame with #EmbraceyourCulturs written on it.

Byard said the team was thrilled to see students’ faces light up when they saw flags placed in their country, and savored the exciting chatter of students who realized they had something in common with the stranger next to them, pinning the same place.

Ainsley Taipala and Trystan Guerro using the polaroid frame provided for the #embraceyourculturs social media campaign. Photo Credit: Molly Wright/WDBM

“One student even said they had never met someone from their country before and was elated when they saw another flag on the map. They said they really appreciated opportunities like this to feel less alone on such a large campus,” Byard said.

Through participating in the campaign and competition, Byard said she and her team had the opportunity to wield their public relations expertise in a way that builds up the campus community, connecting them to other Michigan State students whose cultural backgrounds may differ from their own—an experience she hopes all students have at some point in their college career, and one she owes entirely to working with Culturs.

Capital City Communications has since submitted its final report to the competition’s judges, having achieved its goal of inspiring 200 students to share their stories on the @msuculturs Instagram about how they embrace their culture.

The team also reached its goal of having 500 media interactions, including Instagram Stories, reposts, and usage of #EmbraceyourCulturs, but missed its goal of gaining 500 followers on the account, ending with 94 followers.

“The followers plus the accounts engaged and Stories posted is over 500 interactions that demonstrate the encouragement students received to embrace their cultures,” Capital City Communications said in their final report for the competition.

During the month the campaign ran, @msuculturs made almost 2,000 impressions, reaching 398 accounts in total, 84 of which were actively engaged in the campaign.

“We believe this type of interaction inspired many students to talk about their culture and experiences with other students. Capital City Communications is excited about the results and could not be more proud of the impact the account had,” the report said.

Results from the competition will be announced on April 23, and finalists will present their campaigns to judges sometime in May.

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About the Contributor
Molly Wright
Molly Wright, Host of The Reporter Roundtable
Molly Wright (she/her/hers) is a senior at Michigan State University studying environmental journalism and minoring in media photography. She has been with Impact since 2022 and is currently the host of The Roundup podcast. In her abundant free time, you can usually find her outside, being loud and obnoxious and telling her friends she loves them. “Time is precious. That’s the only thing I try not to waste.” -Rico Nasty

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