Students in the public relations sequence at Kansas State University's A.Q. Miller School of Journalism and Mass Communications are working with members of the Manhattan Rotary Club on a service learning project.
The students are enrolled in their capstone course, Public Relations Campaigns. The class requires students to form their own firms where they are assigned a client. The firms spend the semester creating and carrying out a public relations campaign for their client.
"I like that this project allows us to take concepts that we have learned in class and incorporate them into a real life situation," said Joshua Martin, a senior in public relations. "It has placed us in a real work environment and allowed us to combine everything we have learned throughout college."
Service learning is a method of education that allows students to use the skills they have learned in their classes and apply them in real-world settings. This allows students to gain practical experience and learn lessons that cannot be taught in the classroom while serving those in the community around them.
"Service learning is an excellent way to incorporate all of the knowledge students gain through courses, and implement it in the community," said Allison McBrien, a senior in public relations. "It is beneficial for the community, as well as the student."
However, the students are not the only ones to gain something of value from service learning. The Manhattan Rotary Club has asked the students' firm to increase membership and community perceptions of Rotary.
"The public relations campaign will provide the club greater visibility in the community and hopefully have more interest from the community to be members," said Vernon Turner, president-elect of the Manhattan Rotary Club. "We are very excited to see the results of the campaign."
The club learned about the campaigns class through Nancy Muturi, the professor overseeing the course and a member of the club, Turner said.
The students said they enjoy helping members of the Manhattan Rotary Club because of their flexibility and humanitarian efforts for the benefit of the surrounding communities.
"They are very open to new ideas and letting us be involved in what they want to do," Martin said.
The Manhattan Rotary Club is a part of Rotary International, an international service organization focused on bringing together business and professional leaders to provide humanitarian services across the globe. Rotary International and the Manhattan Rotary Club are open to all individuals.
In Manhattan, members have performed a number of volunteer activities and services, including providing assistance at the Manhattan Public Library's book sale and creating a number of scholarships for local and international students at K-State.
K-State students will complete the campaign for the club early in May, just before many of them graduate and take this experience with them on to their careers.