October 8, 2008

The ‘Power’ of People

Posted in Activists, Kent State University, PR Practitioners, Student Organization at 3:32 am by cdziak

This past week, my PR theory and practices class had a great discussion revolving around PR practitioners and activists.  Some questions that came up were what is the difference between a PR practitioner and an activist? What similar qualities does each hold and what makes these two entities different.  At the end of class, we were all questioning the definition of both and if the two could go hand in hand.

With the presidential election quickly approaching, student activists and groups have been out in full force to encourage the KSU student body to register to vote and for students to pledge their vote in November for the creation of clean air energy.

The main group of activists behind the latter, is Power Vote, a non-partisan group who is on a mission to gather 1 million young Americans signatures.  Students can pledge online to make clean, just energy a priority in their vote this election.  I’ve seen this group around campus during the first presidential debate during the weekend of We the People Fest and most recently this past Monday.  A group of students came into the Media, Power, and Culture class to encourage the students to pledge their vote for clean energy this November.  The student activists came in wearing Power Vote t-shirts – green with a fist holding an energy action turbine.  Very eye-catching I must say.

As activists, the students at Kent and various campuses across the states, have banded together to gather signatures and make the young America aware that we do have the power to make a difference regardless of who is president and make it known that young America is concerned for the environment and how it will affect us when we are older and how it could potentially affect our kids.  This group is passionate about the issue of clean energy, and the creation  of green jobs. These students are creating a relationship with their peers at Kent to promote the issue they are compassionate about.

By definition, public relations is the management function that establishes and maintains mutually beneficial relationships between an organization  and the publics on whom it’s success or failure depends.  Based on this definition, the leaders of this student based Power Vote activist group could also be deemed PR practitioners.  They may not be aware of it, but this student activist group is maintaining a relationship with the KSU student body as well as the other Power Vote groups and the main Power Vote group.  For all of the campuses that have a Power Vote group, the success of their 1 million signature campaign depends on the relationship they have with the student body and how receptive their peers are to young America taking charge.

The Power Vote campaign is demonstrating that activists can be PR practitioners.  Power Vote groups are building relationships, informing the public and trying to have a successful campaign.  Come November, this could be a great example of how the power of the people had an impact on the government and society.

Check out the YouTube video as part of the campaign.