Six Perley Isaac Reed School of Journalism seniors are leading a campaign to increase volunteerism at West Virginia University.

Alexa Hadfield, Julie Hildenbrand, Adriane Herlihy, Jared Lathrop, Jill Necessary and Katlin Stinespring are striving to strengthen the presence of the Center for Civic Engagement on all three WVU campuses while serving the University they have called home throughout the past four years.

“The campaign is important to me because service learning and community service changes the way I view the University,” said Lathrop, public relations senior from Franklin, W.Va. “I believe these projects bring a sense of community to WVU.”

With counsel from WVU public relations professor Dr. Rita Colistra and CCE Operations Coordinator Brett White, the team plans to showcase the benefits of civic engagement and how students and faculty can participate.

“The goal is to effectively promote the importance and benefits of civic engagement to the student body and the Morgantown community as a way to increase volunteerism and service learning participation,” said Stinespring, public relations senior from Hurricane, W.Va.

White, responsible for all CCE communication efforts, hopes the campaign will increase awareness of the organization.

“The Center for Civic Engagement is thrilled to work with this capable group of public relations students to expand our message and outreach on campus,” White said.

By revealing the underlying advantages of civic engagement and appealing to student and faculty interests, the campaign has great potential to increase volunteers and WVU’s contribution to the community.

“I knew this was a project I would put my heart into and be proud to represent,” said Hildenbrand, public relations senior from Ruffs Dale, Pa.

This semester is Colistra’s first time teaching the public relations capstone course, and she has high expectations for her students.

“The course provides real-world experience to give students a taste of what they’ll be doing once they graduate,” Colistra said.

The CCE was established in the spring of 2006 at West Virginia University based on the fundamental qualities of volunteerism and service learning. The organization strives to bridge the gap between the university and the community at local, national and global levels. For more information or to get involved with the CCE, please visit



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CONTACT: Julie Hildenbrand; CCE PR and Media Relations Director