By Kristen Pustizzi
When we hear “veteran,” what do we think? More important even; what does society think? What do employers think? The first word that might come to our minds is “hero.” However, the thrust of public opinion and the media may make you think of other words and terms like “PTSD,” “suicide,” “drug addiction”– all qualities deemed undesirable by society and employers.
They’re “heroes” that you don’t want to get anywhere near. Not to mention that veterans on campus are typically invisible. We the students are so busy feeling bad for these veterans that we fail to see the qualities that made them heroes in the first place; organizational skills, resilience, and loyalty. Though the media and employers have been fed a negative perception of today’s veterans.
The Bateman Case Study Project is an annual contest from PRSSA that challenges students to create a PR campaign. This year’s challenge is to increase awareness on college campuses and in communities about veterans who are students around the globe, as well as increasing the support and networks for these deserving individuals.
I was introduced to the Bateman Project last semester when my professor assigned me to a group and presented us with this idea; the broken veteran stigma. Our society immediately feels that when military personnel come back from serving and now are “veterans” they are also considered “damaged” and are “suffering” when that is not always the case. At first, this was just another assignment for a grade, but then we really got going with the research and interacted with veterans. That’s when we began to realize the impact this project would have if we took it a step further.
This semester our professor presented us, our team along with a few others that wanted to join, with an opportunity to submit our ideas into the Pub Club publicity contest. We have worked very hard on an issue that our society keeps invisible. As a whole, this experience has been a lot more educational than any of the other assignments for that class. Instead of watching presentations and taking notes on them to study for a test, we actually got the opportunity to put what we have been learning into action.
We will find out the results for the Pub Club Publicity contest this coming June of 2016. We are hoping our campaign gets one of the Bell Ringer awards.