The “Know the Red Flags” campaign, which was proposed and implemented during my Strategic Communication Campaigns class, was recently covered by the University of Iowa SJMC newsletter. Read it here.
My Fall 2012 Strategic Communication Campaigns class is implementing the campaign “Know the Red Flags” against dating violence, sponsored by the Domestic Violence Intervention Program (DVIP). The campaign aims to educate UI undergraduate students about dating violence and its prevalence on campus. It also aims to raise awareness about the “red flags” of dating violence, and to inform students about available resources. The primary audience is undergraduate men on campus between 18 and 25. The secondary audience is undergraduate women between 18 and 25.
This June, a months-long collaboration between Anadolu University’s Nezih Orhon, Ayhan Yilmaz, Yavuz Tuna, and Ertan Dogan, Ohio University’s Yusuf Kalyango Jr. and me (representing University of Iowa) came to a happy conclusion. Anadolu University hosted its first International Conference on Global Health and Crisis Communication, June 19-21 in Eskisehir, Turkey.
A city of many ambitions
The final stop of the trip was Des Moines. We first met with the City Council over dinner and received a warm welcome. “I love the fact that you’re here,” said City Manager Rick Clark. “We’d like to see that grow stronger.”
Much of the event focused on the council’s plans for the future. Mayor T. M. Franklin Cownie talked about “natural capitalism” which provides a comprehensive and affordable path to profitable sustainability. “It’s not so much about us, it’s about our kids and grandkids,” he said.
Sustainability can be messy
An hour north of Webster City is Goodell, a town of 139 people and many more environmental questions. We arrived at a community center, where most of the residents were waiting for us. And over lunch, we started talking about sewage.
Over the past three years, the state of Iowa has pressured Goodell to build a sewage treatment system. The town currently does not have one. Residents have hired engineers to explore the options, who have proposed a plan for new septic tanks and a pressurized system. The price tag of this plan is $2 million, which is “more than the town is worth” according to its residents. The expense and the seeming inevitability of the whole situation has concerned residents and driven them to action. One resident in particular is approaching the situation head on: Pat Sweeny.
Moving beyond the single-factory town
When the Electrolux plant closed and laid off some 1,500 workers, Webster City joined the ranks of countless other small towns, whose existence hung in the balance of profit margins, globalization, and outsourcing. The factory closed as part of an overall strategy to move to lower-cost markets in Central America and Eastern Europe. Since then, the City Council has been working hard to attract new business into town. “Our single greatest asset is human capital,” said David Toyer, economic development director.
Schools at a crossroads
The first stop of the three-day tour of Iowa was at Lenihan Intermediate School in Marshalltown, a town of 27,552 people northwest of Iowa City. Marshalltown is the home of the meatpacking plant Swift, Fisher Controls, which manufactures process control valves and accessories, and Lennox, which manufactures furnaces and air-conditioners. We met with a group of teachers and the superintendent, Dr. Marvin Wade.
The Faculty Engagement Corps is an annual trip for University of Iowa faculty and administrators around Iowa, which has been happening for six years. This is a “listening tour” that gives faculty and administrators the opportunity to spend some time immersed in one region of Iowa and learn about the people who live there. During the trip, the group visits with community members, alumni, current and prospective students, people working in secondary education, health care professionals, area legislators, and members of the business community.
Most finals weeks are the same – students walking around anxious and sleep deprived; professors dreading the last wave of grading; and campus facilities working on overdrive to match the round-the-clock demand for … well, everything.
But this semester the finals week for several U of Iowa SJMC (School of Journalism and Mass Communication) students and me was different. We got invited backstage to the Bon Jovi concert in Des Moines on May 12. Bon Jovi’s managers e-mailed our administrator Rebecca Scott and pitched the idea. Scott’s first reaction was, of course, disbelief. The e-mail joke of the day, she thought. Still, she responded. And soon it turned out to be real.