Students Establish New Diversity Group

Photo / Credit Jazmin Cole
(L to R) Hannah Legg, me, Natalia Rivera-Rodriguez, and Tia Toppin organized 'Diversity is Due at ESU' group on campus.

Jazmin Cole

Media Manager

Is diversity really due at ESU?  

Are there groups that are still underrepresented at ESU and programs still not diverse? 

Well, according to a group that has started called “Diversity is due at ESU,” the answer is yes.  

“Diversity is due at ESU” was created by a group of ESU public relations students, Hannah Legg, Tia Toppin, Natalia Rivera-Rodriguez and me, Jazmin Cole and advised by Communications professor, Dr. Margaret Mullan.  

Since the beginning of the 2018-2019 academic year “Diversity is due at ESU” has been in the works.  

It started when the PRSSA (Public Relations Student Society of America) was looking for volunteers for the Bateman Competition.  

The Bateman Competition is a national case study competition for public relations students to create a PR campaign and put it to use in their community to address an issue and this year’s issue was diversity in the communications and public relations field.  

According to PR Weekly, in a Harvard Business Review article by PR track director at the City College of New York, Angela Chitkara found that “the ethnic makeup of the PR industry in the U.S. is 87.9% white, 8.3% African-American, 5.7% Hispanic-American, and 2.6% Asian-American.” 

“Diversity is due at ESU” decided to get the public relations and communications field to become more diverse by hosting events to make the public aware of the change that needs to happen.  

The group hosted a dialogue series event, inviting ESU alumni Ruben Garcia as a guest speaker.  

During and after college years, Garcia had become and continued being an entrepreneur. He became his own PR team and branded himself which gained him over 10,000 followers on Instagram.  

Garcia gave tips on branding and how make our social media accounts a tool to get ourselves out there.  

Along with hosting events, “Diversity is Due” also asked went around campus and asked students and campus faculty what diversity meant to them and what they have done to promote diversity in campus and in the community as a part of the research for the case study.  

“I have organized a lot of different events here on campus that can speak to a lot of different people. For example, we [Student Engagement Office] do events for different ethnicities, religions and sexualities. We try to be inclusive and offer something for everyone,” said Assistant Director of Student Engagement, Melissa Climent. 

Student Sofia Liya said that to her diversity is “coming together as a whole, collaborating with every culture and background. It’s about appreciating everyone.” 

Another way to spread gain more diversity and inclusiveness in the PR/ Communication field was to inform the younger generations of what the field was actually about.  

While doing research for “Diversity is Due” it was found that most people never got involved in the PR field because they do not know what it really is and in order for people to be involved, they have to have knowledge about what they should be involved in.  

Therefore, making the future generations of university students aware of an industry so broad that they can work in almost anything was a priority.  

Two members traveled to local high schools in the area like Pocono Mountain East High School and Stroudsburg Area High School to speak to sophomore, junior and senior students and give them something to think about when they are considering furthering their education and becoming possible PR majors.  

The goal of the campaign was to make diversity and inclusion in the Public Relations and Communications field something that will not make up a case study issue but something that is not even thought about because every racial, ethnic, sexual and religious group should be represented without a struggle as student Chris Lee simplifies: 

It’s [diversity] just natural. You should be able to experience diversity and not even notice it,” Lee said.  

This is the first year that ESU has participated in the national Bateman Case Study Competition and on Friday, March 29 the PRSSA Bateman competition team submitted their campaign for diversity and inclusion for a cash prize and a chance to present the campaign to sponsor representatives. 

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