This Saturday afternoon, Drake students will shock shoppers in Jordan Creek Mall by dancing in the middle of the mall as part of a Zumba flash mob.
Drake’s Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) has been working diligently to raise awareness for childhood obesity as part of the annual Bateman Case Study Competition. The Bateman Competition is a yearly national event that gives public relations students the chance to apply what has been learned in the classroom, as well as in internships and various experiences, by formulating a full public relations campaign. Every team, nation-wide, is given the same topic or focus and is asked to research, plan, implement and evaluate a full public relations campaign.
Drake’s Bateman group, which includes juniors Abby Bedore, Jenna Mushro, Cecily Miniaci and Kali O’Brien as well as sophomore Halli Kubes, has been working on the project since last semester, but is just now being able to see its impact.
“We’ve been working since November, and we’ve been building our plan from the ground up,” Jenna Mushro said. “On Feb. 29, we have to shut it down and we’ll have to look at a write up at the end in March.”
The team has been promoting their campaign in the Drake and Des Moines area over the last couple weeks through a variety of means. Social media has been especially important for the campaign. The use of Twitter and likes and comments to the group’s Facebook page allows a the Bateman team to put a number to how many views their pages have received and how effectively they are getting their message out.
“Social media has really helped us a lot, especially in terms of measuring progress and getting the word out to Drake students,” Mushro said.
There are several target audiences for the project, including elementary, middle school and high school kids, parent-teacher associations, elderly people in the Des Moines area, as well as college students. Pre- and post-tests are given to those participating in the events in order to distinguish what they got out of the event and the impact it had on them.
Saturday’s flash mob is one of several events that the group has sponsored in an effort to promote their cause. The Bateman team, in conjunction with Bell Center Zumba instructor, and Drake junior, Hannah Pink, will be hosting a flash mob at Jordan Creek Mall on Saturday beginning at 12:30 p.m. Pink will be teaching a Zumba dance, similar to the way she runs her class, in the lower, main area of the mall. No prior dance or Zumba experience is necessary; as the dance will be taught as it is being performed. The Bateman team’s goal is to get a large number of students to participate to cause more of a scene and promote their campaign.
“We’re really trying to use it as a shock value to the Des Moines community,” O’Brien said. “We want people to recognize the problem of obesity and that Zumba and other fun ways of exercising are good opportunities.”
Students are encouraged to wear bright colors and meet in the Jordan Creek food court at 12:30 p.m. so that the group can get organized and proceed to the center of the mall to start the flash mob by 1 p.m.
The Bateman team is hoping that this event, as well as the other events and strategies they have put to use, will prove successful in the end of the competition.
“Drake has never won the competition,” Mushro said. “We’re doing a lot and hoping we have a good chance.”