Communication & Rhetorical Study
Michael Dern is a senior corporate communications major in the McAnulty School of Liberal Arts. For a public relations class, Mike was involved in a program called FUSION. FUSION is an after-school program located in the Hazelwood Neighborhood that aims to increase parental involvement in their child’s education.
FUSION had a little funding but needed to publicize the program to parents in order to get it started. The goal for Mike’s class was to publicize the program and create business pamphlets that the group could use. Mike’s class came up with several ideas on how to do this, including using social media for publicity. They created Facebook and Twitter pages, created and posted fliers throughout the Hazelwood area, and developed a business pamphlet for the organization. His class also thought up the idea to sponsor a neighborhood cookout and even got a news article published in the Hazelwood Homepage promoting the program.
GETTING THE WORD OUT
Mike believes this project was very helpful to him because “it shows public relations from theory to practice… What we are tested on in class becomes practical if implemented in an effective way.” He recalls how cultural communication theory was used in the project: “We had to consider the target audience of our message. Everyone might not have access to some of the traditional advertising mediums.” The corporate communication track at Duquesne puts a large emphasis on “walking the humanities into the marketplace.”
“Being able to help a community enrich their lives and make a lasting impression on a younger generation is the importance of my education.”
This experience taught Mike how his class work could be applied in real-world situations. He says he learned three major lessons. “First, it taught me how to implement theory and generate quality work. Second it taught me how to work with a client that has demands not typical of what a teacher expects. Third, I learned how to be a better individual and what it means to give back to the community.” All three lessons are ones that he can take with him in his future career.
Coming from a communications background, Mike pays close attention to the messages put forth by Duquesne. When asked why he thinks service-learning is part of the university’s curriculum he said, “Duquesne’s slogan is ‘do more.’ This is what service-learning exemplifies. When we just learn in the classroom we better ourselves, but it is service that teaches us to think about more than ourselves and do more for others.”