Volume 6 Issue 2                                                                                                                                            Spring 2020
Bi-annual newsletter of the SPR Group (Captstone:Strategic Public Relations course). The course operates as a student public relations firm.
Dr. Rochelle R. Daniel, Instructor                                                                                              Dr. Otis Thomas, Chair
Department of Communications, Bowie State University
The SPR Group - Spring 2020 Team
Back row (from right): Dr. Daniel, Delonta Tinsley, Lauren Byrd, Saidah Sargent, Amber Anderson, Imani Perry, Keyona Howerton, Elizabeth Allen, Tempest Yancey; Front row (from right): Adaora Onuora, Vanessa Mills, Shavin Devonish, Ameerah Behaaldeen, Dayna Downs, Melissa Morgan; Not pictured: Dayna Brown, Beiling Liu, Tamani Lynch, Oladapo Sanyaolu, Chante Thompson 
COVID-19 and Its Impact on the SPR Group
The SPR Group learned how to communicate and work through our new normal this semester after Bowie State University classes were permanently moved online March 19.

Back in November 2019, the first case of COVID-19 was recorded. No one could have imagined that it would have the impact that it has had all over the world. By early March, more than 3.5 million cases, 251,000 deaths worldwide, and 1.21 million cases and 69.530 deaths in the United States. In Maryland, there were 24,473 cases and over 1,156 deaths.

As our classes moved online, students were prompted to move out of residential housing. Also, all in-person events through the summer have been cancelled. Yes, this includes the Spring commencement ceremony! To congratulate graduating students, President Breaux announced BSU's very first Virtual Commencement will take place on June 13. Breaux also approved a Pass/Fail option for students, to help them cope with the moving of all in-person courses online.

All students in the class are on track to successfully complete the class this semester, Now that the class is almost over, a few students weighed in on how these changes affected them:

How has working from home impacted your group’s communication and the progression of meeting deadlines for your project?

Working from home has been an adjustment for all of us. With not being able to meet in person, it only meant that for my group members and myself to remain on track, we needed to increase our phone conferences. And rework our plan (for) our presentation to our client Meisha Robinson."

--Elizabeth Allen, team leader (client: I Am We Are)

"Communication has been difficult. With everything going on, it can be hard to get everyone to be on the same page."
--Melissa Morgan, team leader (client: BSU Dept. of Communications)

How has COVID-19 changed your PR plan?

"COVID-19 hasn't had an impact on our PR plan because our objective consisted of doing market research; therefore, most of our work was done online. However, we were going to present our findings in person and that now has to be done through Zoom."

--Chante Thompson (client: I Am We Are)

What have you learned as a member of the SPR Group?

"This has really helped (me) perfect (my) organizational skills.

--Imani Perry (client: I Am We Are)

Visit the SPR Group Youtube channel
to learn more about how we worked through the Covid 19 crisis. Amber Anderson and Tempest Yancey produced a three-part series featuring SPR students before and after classes were moved online.
Meet Our Featured Client: Meisha Robinson
Meisha Robinson is a “social entrepreneur, youth empowerment advocate, and brand strategist committed to generating innovative and impactful changes in organizations and communities.” She began by abruptly quitting her job and decided to travel and volunteer for the Peace Corps in both Benin and South Africa. The reason? She felt as if she was not doing enough. Meisha says she has been blessed to be able to travel the world, backpacking in 50 countries and living in three. It’s during this time she listened to other’s stories and realized she could do better in this world. 
In 2015, she launched I Am We Are (IAWA) in South Africa. The inspiration came from seeing the challenges of black youth in the different areas; specifically, Meisha said, she was tired of “seeing black and brown kids begging or selling things on the streets.” The goal of IAWA is to empower youth and give them the tools for a successful future. Meisha says they do this, just by giving hope, belief, and a nurturing environment instead of "telling our children to shrink like they have heard for generations." 
Meisha is committed to help reverse the “generational curse” most black children face, specifically how hard it is for some children to feel. To battle this, IAWA allows kids to be kids, offers free programs, and utilizes the socratic method, positive psychology, and well-being advisors to help children reach their potential. Meisha noted that not only are they trying to prepare youth, but IAWA is a “cycle of learning from each other”, meaning she learns from the kids daily as well. Currently, Meisha is trying to expand into the United States, Prince George’s County specifically.

SPR team members Dayna Downs,Tamani Lynch, Adaora Onuora, and Saidah Sargent (team leader) worked with BSUPRSSA to coordinate its annual spring networking event on campus. But, of course, their plans changed because of the COVID-19 crisis. Instead, they hosted an Instagram Live event to discuss how public relations professionals are adjusting to COVID-19 in business.

Special guest Milan Mobley, founder of UManagement Public Relations Agency, gave her perspective on the PR industry during this COVID 19 era. "I thought the event went well," Carmira Thomas said. "A lot of great questions were asked and matched with informative answers. One thing that really stood out was when Milan said brands (and) companies should be focusing on post-COVID PR plans now, so that when the time comes (they) will be prepared instead of scrambling around like others may be doing." Thomas moderated the live event. She is the president of BSUPRSSA. 

Milan is a 2015 BSU graduate of Communications. She has been featured on the local radio stations such as WKYS, Southside Dash Radio, WEAA and a multitude of other platforms.
More Clients and Projects

The SPR Group took on a new client, Student City Suds Services, a laundry cleaning service founded by BSU business student Richard Foster. Vanessa Mills conducted a market analysis and survey for Foster. She also created fliers and logos to assist Dr. Marie Brown to promote the Legacy Lecture Series and brand the program which features former and current professional athletes. 

Beiling Liu (team leader), Delonta Tinsley, and Oladapo Sanyaolu produced a tutorial video for promoting the BSU History Department. Their clients were Drs. Tamara Brown and Carmen Walker working on behalf of the History Department.

The Department of Communications Facebook page generated a surge of likes and engaging comments thanks to the creative writing and social media skills of a team led by Melissa Morgan. She was assisted by Ameerah Behaaldeen and Lauren Byrd. 


Meet the Editor

I am Shavin Devonish, a 21-year old graduating senior majoring in Communications with a concentration in public relations. I live in Landover, Maryland, and work as a Resident Assistant. I plan to continue my education at Bowie State University pursuing a master's degree in mental health counseling. 

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