Otterbein PRSSA Wins Recognition at National Competition

Posted May 14, 2021

Otterbein University’s chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) has received an honorable mention for their submission to the 2021 Bateman Case Study Competition. Members of the group are Brea Galvin, Julia Grimm, Carley King, Jacob Russell, Emily Steinberg, and Jarod White. 

“It has been several years since we entered this competition, but the topic was compelling for students, and they organized an outstanding campaign,” said Senior Instructor Denise Shiveley, Department of Communication. “I am very proud of their work, their commitment to the campaign and their diligence in seeing it through during this challenging pandemic time.”  


The theme for the 2021 competition focused on reversing the corrosion of civility in American life and fostering more constructive and inclusive public discourse in all corners of society. PRSSA received 54 entries from across the country for this year’s competition. Of these submissions, eight entries received honorable mention and three were chosen as finalists to present their campaigns to a panel of judges on May 13.  

“We entered the competition believing it would be stressful, and a lot of work,” said Jacob Russell ‘22. “We were thankful to have guidance from our teammates and Professor Shively. Everyone agreed our stress and hard work paid off when we received the honorable mention.” 

Originating in 1973, the Bateman Case Study Competition began as a national case study allowing PRSSA members to exercise the analytical skills required for public relations problem solving. The 2021 competition was open to the more than 370 PRSSA-affiliated chapters and challenges student teams to research, plan, implement, and evaluate a public relations campaign centered on enhancing civility. Participants worked with leaders from across PRSA to engage the public relations industry as the key catalyst in improving public discourse. 

“Civility is so broad and can be covered in nearly every aspect of life,” said team member Jarod White ’22. “Once we understood how to tackle the issue of civil discourse, we were passionate and excited to implement the campaign on campus. Finishing the implementation was a very good feeling because we all spent a lot of early mornings and late nights. Our team was honored to be included with some of the country’s largest universities.” 

Otterbein’s submission was reviewed by four judges and received 90 out of a total 100 possible points. Most judges cited how well executed and creative Otterbein’s approach was to the theme. 

“You had me at ‘hello’ with that fabulous opening graphic of all of you,” wrote one judge. “You nailed it with great audience targeting, beautiful graphics, and a digital presence.” 

White and Russell believe the judges really took note of how on message the team stayed to the theme and adding content rich experiences for the community, such as inviting two prominent journalists from Detroit to speak to Otterbein students and staff. They are both excited about his future career abilities, due in large part to this opportunity. 

“Participating in this competition taught me what is needed for a successful campaign,” said Russell. “I know I will use that insight to reach my goal of developing and analyzing health communication campaigns as a career.” 

White sees how being part of this team will also benefit Otterbein mission of serving the common good. 

“PRSSA and this competition will give us all the confidence to change the world.”