By Pablo Ramos Diaz
Mt. San Jacinto College offers a public relations class (Communications 119), which shows students the basics of public relations to students, and they get to learn about public relations through a hands-on case study.
Public Relations is a strategic process that focuses on helping or achieving an organization’s goals. Most people see public relations as something a company uses to maintain a public image, but it’s more than just that. In fact, now more than ever, public relations have become important for corporations to have. This is because consumers have become smarter and more aware of what companies do.
MSJC partnered with Eastern Municipal Water District (EMWD), which aims at providing clean and reliable water. Along with Dr. Michele Weber, the professor for the class, they planned out various activities to prepare students with real life scenarios. Roxanne Rountree, who is the Senior Public Affairs Program Manager for EMWD, gave insight into why she helped.
“The purpose of joining was to engage and inform the community members in EMWD’s service area about their program and what they provide,” said Rountree.
With the help of EMWD, Weber was excited with the idea of combining a school project with real world experience. They set up two goals for students to achieve so that by the end of the process they would come out with PR experience.
“When we were setting up the class, the common goal was to create awareness about their program called Ground Water Reliability plus,” said Weber. “We wanted to create a campaign that started with research and ended with some deliverables that they could use to promote this program. GWR includes a comprehensive education and outreach program and the goal of the program is to engage and inform community members within EMWD’s service area about the program and its benefits to the community.”
“The other goal was to provide students with a way to experience what it is like to put together a public relations campaign from start to finish,” said Weber.
The class activities included conducting a survey where students were given a specific demographic. Once they were given their target audience, students dove in and conducted their research. Conducting surveys is a very intricate part in public relations as it allows the person conducting the survey to see how the target audience thinks and possibly predict what their next move should be.
MSJC 2020 graduate, now alumnus, Eddie Landeros participated in this project. His assigned demographic was young adults, and it was not too long after he received his assignment that he got to work on conducting his survey.
Landeros finished his survey in no time and was able to get a good idea about how his audience conducts surveys, his audience’s knowledge of water, and how his target audience thinks. Landeros was able to take this information and use it on the next part of the assignment.
The next part involved creating a video that is both engaging and reaches out to that target audience specifically. For Landeros, creating the video was an interesting and fun process. He really enjoyed being able to express his creativity and show what he learned from his surveys.
Landeros wanted to create a video that was like an info ad. With the current pandemic, Landeros took into consideration the effects of quarantine and social distancing, which limited his participants, and was able to improvise and create a PowerPoint to help aid him.
After spending time making his video, it was time to work on an info-graph that would help his audience better understand the process of “toilet to tap”. This process involves purifying wastewater so that it could be used as a drinkable or usable source of water.
Landeros wanted something vibrant and eye-catching. He used various colors like blue, green and red to make things eye catching. Additionally, he also wanted to make sure that the images and color did not take away from the message they were trying to send.
The final activity was the summary report on what he learned from the entire experience. In short, Landeros loved the experience. Not only was it a fun experience, but it helped him prepare for the future.
“It really helped me prepare for what a career in PR or Advertising will be like, felt like good training for an internship,” said Landeros “It was nice to be able to analyze the water knowledge of my peers and reflect on my own knowledge. I also had fun learning about different programs like Canva, Google Slides, iMovie, and Garage Band and became more confident in my abilities to produce.”
Landeros hopes to use this knowledge and experience in the future in his career.