An inside scope on service-learning


Creating a personal blog is something that I never imagined doing. As a mass communication major, I’ve spent time in three different concentrations: broadcast journalism, political communication and public relations. In broadcast journalism, my first concentration, I imagined myself in front of camera. One day hoping to follow in the footsteps of Stuart Scott or Scott Van Pelt, as an anchor for ESPN. Then I transitioned to political communication. That was my “I want to go to law school” phase. After hearing the horror stories of law school, I decided that that was clearly not the path that I wanted to travel. So I was a crossroad. Trying to figure out what concentration would work for me. After speaking with an advisor, I realized that public relations was where I needed to be. It was the perfect fit for my personality and my skills.

As a public relations student in the Manship School of Mass Communication, there are courses, specific to my concentration that I am required to take. One of the courses that I am required to take is PR writing, a course in which I am currently enrolled. The intent of this course is to give public relations students experience writing documents that we will the required to write in our professional careers. Although this is a vital portion of the course, it is not the extent of the course. In this class are also participating in a service-learning project.

So, what is service-learning? Many times when I think about the idea of a service-learning course, I think of it as course in which I will have to volunteer extra time to complete community service tasks. This never really seemed appealing to me. I did not realize that that was the wrong idea of service-learning. A service-learning course helps a student to gain professional experience in a particular field. The service-learning project my class is participating in, is one that I am really excited about.

Our service-learning project involves SCVNGR (pronounced scavenger) and the Baton Rouge Area Chamber (BRAC). SCVNGR is a geolocation-based gaming application that we are using to attract new customers, increase awareness and create a viral buzz for businesses in the Baton Rouge metropolitan area. SCVNGR allows its participants to become acquainted with businesses in their local area by giving them the opportunity to receive rewards and points for completing treks.

We will use the abilities of SCVNGR to help our client, BRAC, achieve its mission of leading economic development in the nine-parish Baton Rouge metropolitan area. In my PR writing class, 18 students have been divided into four groups. Each group is a PR agency is working for BRAC and has a specific facet of life in the Baton Rouge metropolitan area to focus on. The four concentrations are: Discover BR, Arts and Culture, Get out of Town and Nightlife.

My agency, Spotlight BR, will focus on spotlighting the nightlife of the Baton Rouge metropolitan area. We will introduce our audience to mainstream nightlife activities and attractions, as well as unfamiliar nightlife activities and attractions that exist in this area. Our agency is composed of four people who will operate in different roles that will ensure that our client is pleased with our work.

As the design director, I am responsible for look and feel of all campaign materials including creative materials, promotional materials and evaluative materials. This is a position that I am excited to have, because I have the opportunity to work in programs such as Adobe InDesign, Photoshop and Illustrator. This position will also pull me out of my comfort zone, and allow me to gain experience in an area that will be beneficial to me in my professional career.