Loyola public relations group wins competition with anti-bullying campaign

Students at Loyola University New Orleans leading an anti-bullying campaign took home the university’s eighth national title in a public relations competition for college students — the Public Relations Student Society of America 2013 Bateman Case Study Competition.

The Loyola Bateman team’s “Step Up, Reach Out!” campaign to stop bullying was chosen as the winner among 68 entries from colleges and universities nationwide.

Loyola public relations students have dominated the national Bateman competition for more than a decade. In addition to winning eight national titles, Loyola’s Bateman team has advanced to the national finals 12 of the last 13 years.

“Loyola has won the Bateman Competition more than any other school in the country — a long-standing tradition we are proud to continue,” said Sonya F. Duhé, Ph.D., Loyola professor and director of the School of Mass Communication.

Loyola Bateman team members include Dwayne Fontenette, Haley Humiston, Charlie LaRock, Leah Whitlock and Vannia Zelaya. Loyola public relations professor Cathy Rogers, Ph.D. — also named by the Public Relations Association of Louisiana as the 2012 State Educator of the Year in public relations — spearheads the students’ participation in the competition.

The 2013 Bateman competition focused on the rise of bullying and its short and long-term effects for the bully, the victim and even bystanders who witness bullying. Experts say bullying can lead to developmental issues, mental health disorders, sleep problems, school attendance problems and poor academic performance.

Loyola’s “Step Up, Reach Out!” anti-bullying effort partnered with New Orleans schools and other local organizations to host 22 workshops and programs in six schools and an anti-bullying summit in February. Activities are based on the campaign’s motto “Geaux K.I.N.D.,” where each letter stands for a step against bullying: Keep others included; inform an adult when you see bullying; never bully others; and decide to be more than a bystander.