PR Students Rock the Vote at URI – Spring, 2016
Everywhere we turn, we are reminded it is election year – even at URI. Students enrolled in PR courses this semester participated in a fast-moving social media campaign to facilitate “Rock the Vote”. Recognized as the largest nonpartisan, non-profit organization in the United States, “Rock the Vote” encourages young people to not only register to vote but to get to the polls. It’s where pop culture, politics, and technology collide to mobilize the energy of the millenials to get involved in our nation’s political process. For more information about Rock the Vote, please visit www.rockthevote.com.
So, what happened? The Harrington School of Communication & Media invited Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea to announce “Rock the Vote” at a town hall meeting attended by more than 100 students on March 1, 2016. Secretary of State Gorbea shared not only the importance of voting but stressed that voting is our privilege. She urged students to become involved in the political process. It was so interesting to hear of the Secretary of State’s own journey as she ran for political office. She was so very candid; many people did not think she would win the election. However, the voters proved differently.
Following the town hall meeting, students enrolled in PRS200 (Intro to Event Planning) and PRS441 (PR Campaigns) planned fourteen on-campus voter registration drives resulting in a total of 333 URI students registering to vote in the November, 2016 election. In addition, students in PRS441 conducted more than 150 surveys, two focus groups and 40 interviews to gain an understanding about political attitudes and preferences. At the same time, Lucio Andreozzio and Jenna Cote were interviewed by Bekah Berger with HOT106, Cumulus Radio Station about this campaign and their insight about voting.
To add sizzle to the registration drives, students registering to vote were eligible to participate in a raffle complete with terrific prizes: iPad; gift certificates to Stop & Shop, Dunkin Donuts, Bagelz, Shear Madness and Friendly’s. Other raffle prizes included a URI sweatshirt donated by the URI Bookstore, Harrington School Tshirt/hat and a gift basket from 401 Cafe. Congratulations to Erika Berglund and Ryan Hurney – winners of the iPads.
Impact: This fast-moving campaign propelled with a multidisciplinary flair resulted in 333 URI students registering to vote. In addition, “Rock the Vote” at URI received positive media attention.
Check out the social media presence for “Rock the Vote” at URI: