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Social media students awarded prestigious state awards

September 13, 2022 | CASSH Communications |

A group of students and faculty members holding awards
Dr. Heather Riddell (left), course professor, and awardees, with Dr. Kelly Carr, chair, UWF Department of Communication

This summer, the Florida Public Relations Association awarded and recognized the work of eight UWF graduate students for their rebranding campaign. 

The FPRA conducts The Golden Image Awards annually to recognize outstanding public relations programs in Florida. The organization encourages and promotes the development of public relations within the state.

The Golden Image Awards have become a standard of excellence in the state of Florida. Winners demonstrate the very best examples of innovation, planning and design. A Golden Image entry must incorporate sound public relations research and planning and meet the highest standard of production, execution, and evaluation of results and budget.

The students won two awards, an Award of Distinction and a Judge's Award, for their SOS Social Media Rebranding Campaign. 

Image of text, phone, mobile images

SOS, Save our Soundside, June 2021 Social Media Rebranding Plan

The SOS Social Media Rebranding Campaign was created by the team of eight graduate students in the Summer 2021 Social Media for Advertising and Public Relations course. The graduate students developed the campaign as a part of the program requirements for the Strategic Communication & Leadership, M.A. Participants included Nicole Allen (‘22), Nicole Fink, Jimmy Griffin, Rachel Hyde (‘22), Elizabeth Marino (‘22), Donte Sheppard, Karen Tibbals and Barbara Wells (‘21). 

"After the rebranding, we were happy to see more people getting excited and supporting the positive impact Save Our Soundside was making on the area and really elevate the parks, not just for locals, but for tourists as well. I am thrilled by the performance of our team. I feel it brought a lot more attention to the environmental impact businesses and individuals have on our waterways and wildlife." - Sandy Dimick, SOS board member

The students developed the campaign for Save Our Soundside (SOS). SOS is a nonprofit organization established by a small group of Soundside Drive residents in Santa Rosa County. The organization’s mission is to bring awareness to the harmful effects of local overdevelopment and advocate for smart building and development across the region.

Tibbals is a current graduate student. Of her participation, she said, "My work on the SOS Social Media Rebranding Campaign was exactly the type of broad, hands-on experience I was hoping to gain from the Strategic Communication and Leadership M.A. program. The research into our client and their needs taught me myriad things about my community, local and state government policies, and Florida environmental issues, aside from the communication management skills I gained. The work we accomplished created a positive impact for the non-profit we partnered with. The camaraderie that developed among members of the team created lasting relationships."

Of his experience, Griffan said, “Save Our Soundside is an organization full of people who have been monitoring the decline of the bay, parks, and wildlife. They have been an active voice in local politics to help restore it and hold the appropriate people accountable. We were hired as a social media makeover team, but it quickly evolved into much more. Our team believed it wasn't enough to focus on images, infographics, and redesign. We wanted to draw more attention to the social media pages and generate powerful calls to action to vote and volunteer. "