A small group of students enrolled in a new communication course at Central Wyoming College is taking on the problem of bullying using mass communication tools to speak out.
Five students in Jane Warren’s Introduction to Human Communication course, all who at one time in their lives have witnessed or were victimized by bullies, created an anti-bullying public service announcement for radio that has a celebrity endorsement.
Usually Warren’s classes are filled to capacity, but this particular class was new, and had not been published in the schedule of courses. Despite the course’s low enrollment, Warren was allowed to teach it as a requirement of a new communication degree.
The professor is usually cautious of proposing class projects because in her large classes she found that sometimes only a handful of the students do the work. This was not the case with this group of five, a majority of who were first semester freshman.
“I’ve never seen a class that just delivered,” Warren said. “These are five kids who wanted to do something to make a difference, and they did.”
In the fall human communication course, Warren covered pubic speaking, small group, interpersonal, and organizational communication as well as mass communication. In the mass communication section, the class brainstormed about a project that would use the media to send important messages.
“We were talking about the scary meth commercials,” communication major Annah Brown-Henderson said, recalling the effectiveness of the anti-drug campaign. Originally the class wanted to use television as their medium, but radio broadcasting majors Andrew Gallinger of Rock Springs and Jared Romero of Riverton recommended the radio PSA instead.
Joe Fins, a film major from Rawlins who is a fan of the rock group Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, suggested using the band’s song “Don’t Lose Hope” for the music bed. Fins sought the group’s permission through the band’s Facebook page, and received a quick reply. The lead singer Ronnie Winter not only gave permission for the use of their song in the PSA, but asked if there was anything else the band could do to support the project.
Fins ended up with VIP tickets and a back stage pass to Red Jumpsuit Appartus’ concert at the University of Wyoming in October. Fins met with Winter, who recorded an endorsement for the PSA. Fins said much of the band’s music contains messages of anti-violence.
With the music rights in hand, the students, which also included Amanda Galitz, researched the data, wrote the script, voiced the spots and produced it in CWC’s Rustler Radio studio with the assistance of radio broadcasting instructor John Gabrielsen.
“They all brought their experience to the table,” Warren said of the class. “This was their idea and I think it’s pretty impressive.”
The spots can be heard on Rustler Radio, 88.1 on the FM dial. The PSAs have also been sent to commercial radio stations throughout the state as well.