SENIOR PROJECT REQUIREMENTS: Before any student can graduate with a degree from Cal Poly they must complete a senior project which demonstrates what he or she has learned throughout the duration of their studies. The projects are meant to display the student’s ability to solve problems and address situations they may encounter in their upcoming career. The Cal Poly Journalism Department requires it’s public relations students to either write a research paper or put together (and implement) a campaign which will be accompanied by a shorter research paper.
INTRO TO MY PROJECT: Instead of just doing a research paper or working with a local organization that I had no personal connection to, I wanted to base my project off of something that really mattered to me and hit close to my heart. I was very fortunate to stumble upon a group of girls who had just begun to work on a project that fit what I wanted to do perfectly. It just so happened that I needed to start my senior project, and they needed someone to do public relations. The project I conducted is called the Love Out Loud Campaign which is a depression, self-harm, and suicide prevention campaign.
PROJECT OVERVIEW: The Love Out Loud Campaign aims to encourage communication and self-expression in order to work through depression and suicidal thoughts. The campaign wishes to create a safe environment where students and other community members feel safe to share their personal struggles, thoughts, and experiences. Through the campaign, we hope to educate, inform, and transform the Cal Poly campus into one that is knowledgeable, tolerant, and supportive in regards to depression; a campus which doesn’t simply accept what they have heard about the subject, but one which changes the perceived norms of depression and suicide. Though this begins with Cal Poly, our hope is to create a larger community that reaches out and touches the hearts of anyone who either deals with these matters personally or has experienced them with friends, family members, co-workers, or any other person in their lives. By opening communication and encouraging creative outlets, the Love Out Loud campaign will help those who may feel hopeless or alone to find and establish a foundation of safety and love.
In order to promote the campaign we have decided to host an event which will include a benefit concert and awareness fair. The event took place on Saturday, February 26 and included an awareness fair featuring student clubs, support groups, vendors, and the different health services which are available not only on campus, but also in the surrounding San Luis Obispo community. Different student groups, performers, and artists showcased their work throughout the awareness fair and during the concert. The concert was be a combination of speakers, performers, and bands who feel strongly about the topic of depression. Our keynote speaker this year was Kevin Hines, a man who jumped off the Golden Gate bridge and survived with full mobility. In addition to Mr. Hines, we also hosted different bands, student performers, and speakers who have personal connections with the topic. The event was extremely successful – we had about 400 people attend that night.
The following is the paper that I wrote after the culmination of the project: