Contact: Bradley Walker
USF Students Promote Education in Afghanistan
Tampa, Fla. — One pencil may not seem like a lot, but to a child in Afghanistan it could lead to a better life. Students in Dr. Kelli Burns’ public relations issues class are learning about the educational needs of underprivileged school children in the Middle East, and to fulfill these needs the class has been creating cause-related campaigns to raise donations, collect school supplies and raise awareness about the importance of childhood education in Afghanistan.
Retired Sgt. Rex Temple was stationed in Afghanistan when he came up with the idea to start a school supply drive to help the children he met during his deployments. The children were eager to learn, but they did not have the tools to do it.
Rex teamed up with his wife Lisa Temple and the Holland & Knight Charitable Foundation in Tampa to launch this campaign in June 2009, and since then the couple has shipped more than 18,000 boxes of donated school supplies to the Middle East.
For USF public relations students, it couldn’t be a better opportunity to join the cause and use their skills and experience to help promote this important outreach effort.
PR students have organized bake sales at the Bullmarket and coordinated comedy shows on campus to raise awareness about the school supply drive among the student body. Other teams have partnered with local businesses to raise donations and get the word out beyond campus.
“These public relations students are learning how to apply the skills they have learned in the classroom to build awareness and raise donations for a cause,” said Dr. Burns. “They are incorporating social media tools such as Twitter, Facebook and blogs into their campaigns and are learning how to measure the effectiveness of these communication methods.”
Social media has been an effective way to promote the school supply drive and reach targeted audiences both on and off campus. Twitter and Facebook have been the primary tools used to publicize events and build grassroots support among students, faculty and the general public.
Many donors may not have school supplies on hand to donate, but there are other ways you can support the cause. If you’re interested in making a donation, checks can be mailed to Brian Jordan, Holland & Knight LLP. 201 N. Franklin Street – 12th Floor Tampa, FL 33602.