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Pieces of Eight
Amanda Miller, a junior communications major from Winston-Salem, collects change in a HOPE campaign fund raiser on campus. Among other activities, students spent hours in the hot sun collecting change and selling t-shirts to benefit African children orphaned by AIDS. (Photo by Erica Plouffe Lazure)
Campaign Raises Money, Awareness for AIDS Orphans
Students under the supervision of Kelli Munn, instructor in ECU’s School of Communication, are combining efforts with the Alliance for Youth Achievement to raise both money and awareness for Africa’s escalating AIDS epidemic.
Public relations strategies students in two spring sections joined forces with students enrolled in the first summer session senior seminar to organize the HOPE Campaign (Helping Orphans Prosper through Education). Together they raised $2,500 to support the Good Hope Primary School in Kampala, Uganda.
Roughly a third of Good Hope’s 450 students are orphans, many of whom lost their parents in Africa’s escalating AIDS epidemic. The epidemic has left more than 12 million children without parents.
The funds will purchase a poultry business for the school. Once the business is up and running, revenue from the sale of eggs and chickens can support the orphans on an ongoing basis, Munn said.
Coming in $500 above their original goal, the students developed several fund raising events, including a volleyball tournament, an auction, a car wash, a benefit, and a “Change for Change” drive held on ECU’s Wright Plaza. Downtown restaurant Café Caribe donated 30 percent of one day’s profits toward the project.
While fund raising was an important goal, the campaign also focused on raising awareness of the AIDS/HIV epidemic spreading throughout the continent of Africa. “As students went out into the community to raise money, they were also charged with spreading the word about the AIDS pandemic in Africa,” Munn said.
The idea for the project came from a conversation between Munn and School of Communication alumna Ginger Dail. After hearing about Good Hope, Munn realized the project was appropriate for service learning, while satisfying the learning outcomes of her public relations strategies courses. In that course, students are assigned group work in which they complete a proposal for a mock public relations campaign. This time the campaign would be real.
Munn asked her students to conduct a public relations campaign that would raise awareness about the AIDS and orphan crises in Africa, while motivating people to participate in a solution through donations.
Incorporating the service learning project into her classes “was a challenge at times,” Munn said, because she gave up class time to talk logistics and manage the fund raisers. But what they missed in class lectures, she said, was more than compensated for by what they learned while implementing their projects and interacting with their target audiences in the community.
Their public relations work included survey and focus group research, designing the campaign name and logo, writing newspaper stories and press releases, appearing on television and radio programs, planning and implementing fund raising events, and producing public service announcements.
“Employers will be seeing a lot of HOPE Campaign materials in student portfolios,” Munn said.
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This page originally appeared in the July 15, 2005 issue of Pieces of Eight. Complete issue is archived at
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