PR class builds awareness

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

St. Cloud State University students in Lisa Heinrich’s public relations campaigns class are working to build awareness about the United Way of Central Minnesota, particularly the organization’s work combating area homelessness and hunger. 

Spring is here and the furthest thing from the minds of most college students is where they are going to sleep; they’re concerned mostly with summer plans basking in the sun or traveling. But to many people, including at least 258 children in the St. Cloud community, having a roof over their heads is one of the basic concerns.

"It’s something that a lot of people don’t think about and they take for granted," said Jessica Johnson, marketing and communication manager at United Way of Central Minnesota. "We are very excited to get started with the campaign. The motivation of the students is encouraging and we hope to raise awareness of the need among the students, faculty and staff."

Students, faculty and staff can donate clean, gently used clothing and linens, canned goods, unused toiletries and monetary donations at the following locations on campus:

  • Atwood Memorial Center kiosks
  • Stewart Hall in front of Ritschie Auditorium
  • Mass Communications department office in 125 Stewart Hall (donations accepted from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday while the campaign is underway).

The heart of the campaign focuses on breaking the stereotypes about homelessness and hunger, and on people getting their basic needs met. The campaign will kick off at 11:30 a.m. April 18 in 115 Stewart Hall. Students will don black t-shirts with the number 258—the number of children homeless in the Saint Cloud School District last year —and spread out around campus during the lunch hour to promote their adopted cause. The campaign will continue for two weeks with event days April 23, 25 and 30.

"Since most students will be moving out of their dorms and apartments soon, this is an ideal opportunity for them to contribute to the United Way," said Shannon Koestler, a student in Heinrich’s class.  When people visit, they will have the opportunity to enter for a chance to win prizes and they will learn about some of the dominant problems facing people in the St. Cloud community.

The students have already developed connections with several businesses in the community and a student organization. Rex Granite Company, RDO Equipment Company, Image Builders, Coborn’s, Miller Auto Plaza and the National Society of Leadership and Success (St. Cloud State chapter) have already jumped on board to help support the campaign. United Way is also donating some apparel and other items.

United Way of Central Minnesota is improving lives by mobilizing the caring power in Central Minnesota by focusing on education and basic needs. A local board of directors governs United Way of Central Minnesota and all funding decisions are made by trained, community volunteers. United Way recruits people and organizations that bring the passion, expertise and resources needed to get things done.

For more information on how you can join United Way and its partners to build a stronger Central Minnesota, visit or call 252-0227

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