As part of their coursework at West Virginia University, students in the public relations program at the P.I. Reed School of Journalism give back to the community through service-learning projects. Many have now received recognition for their hard work.

School of Journalism students won five Crystal Awards and four honorable mentions at the Public Relations Society of America WV Chapter Crystal Awards Gala held in Charleston on June 18. The Crystal Award is the top prize in each of the Association’s award categories.

All of the work was completed as part of Dr. Rita Colistra’s spring and fall 2013 public relations capstone classes.

“These students work hard to implement quality strategic communications campaigns for their clients, and it’s wonderful to see their work recognized by industry professionals,” Colistra said. “The awards exemplify the quality of our students and the public relations program. I couldn’t be more pleased with their work.”

The Buy Local Shinnston campaign won Crystal Awards in five student categories including top Community Relations Campaign, Logos, Research, Brochure and Poster. Six public relations seniors worked throughout the spring 2013 semester to raise awareness of the importance and economic value of shopping at local businesses in the Shinnston area. The students used an integrated approach to build a campaign, secure extensive media coverage, execute social media efforts, launch the city’s first Buy Local Day event and produce promotional materials.

Another student-produced campaign, this one for the West Virginia Manufacturers Association, received honorable mentions in the student categories of External Communications Campaign, Poster and Research. Ten public relations students worked on the Association’s campaign during the fall 2013 semester to increase awareness of the many unfilled manufacturing jobs and the lack of young professionals with the right skills to fill the vacancies.

Students who worked on a campaign for the Health Sciences and Technology Academy Engineering and Technology Expos received an honorable mention in the student category of Special Events and Observances: Seven Days or Less. A team of 10 students planned and executed two promotional events as a part of their fall 2013 capstone course. The events took place in Huntington and Beckley, providing opportunities for attendees to interact with new technology and raising awareness of the Academy’s program.

A complete list of winners will be posted at



CONTACT: Kimberly Walker, School of Journalism

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