A Grassroots Movement at Temple?

In response to recent armed robberies around Temple University’s campus, students have created a way to voice their opinions on the subject. A Temple student created a Facebook event called “Eyes Around Temple” that is meant to help students “stand together and think of ways to protect [themselves] and fellow students.” The creation of this event makes me question how effective students’ voicing their opinion on Facebook is. More specifically, is “Eyes Around Temple” a form of grassroots public relations or is it just a group of 2,000+ students who voice their opinions but do not put them to use?

According to bnet.com, the CBS interactive business network, grassroots public relations involves community level campaigning. It also “…calls for dealing with the public at large in a simple, manageable ‘close to home’ manner.” It is about identifying key communication skills and using them to start a movement for change.

In connection with the aforementioned definition of grassroots public relations, the “Eyes Around Temple” cannot be considered grassroots public relations, because the creator of the message does not seem to have made a clear plan or campaign. Students post their complaints and ideas for change, but has the creator of the original message thought of how to disseminate the messages of these students in order to create an effective campaign? I think not, so I offer some suggestions in order to create a grassroots public relations campaign:

1. Assess the need for change, and create an outline of what that change should look like

  • Do you want there to be less violence in the Temple area, more protection of the students, etc.

2. Create a list of audiences you wish to reach

3. Determine how you will reach these audiences

  • Facebook is a good place to start but try to use the messages students have posted to create an ad campaign, or to notify Temple’s administration that a number of students have voiced their concern about lack of protection on campus

4. Identify messages that will be “close to home” and will reach your community/audience

  • Specifically, Temple students are affected so how do you create a message that will get them to do something?

5. Assess your messages and the success of your campaign

  • For instance, did it reach your audience and did you help create change?

This guest blog was written by PRowl Public Relations staff member Kurie Fitzgerald.

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