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Newhouse students win first place in national water conservation PR competition

April 22, 2010

Nicole Krestos
(716) 560-1995

A team of three students from Hill Communications, a student-run public relations agency in Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, recently placed first in Kohler’s Save Water America campaign competition.

Their winning campaign proposal, “Play Your Part: Every Drop Counts,” targets children and their parents in an effort to encourage water conservation awareness and promote Kohler’s Water Conserving product sales, including Kohler’s High-Efficiency Toilets (HET). The competition was administered by the Public Relations Student Society of America.

Members of the first-place team are Megan Woods, a senior public relations and psychology dual major; Laura Foti, a freshman public relations and international relations dual major; and Kayla Burgos, a senior public relations major.

The team’s winning proposal is for an event marketing campaign aimed at building awareness and support for Kohler’s Save Water America campaign. “With just 3 percent of the Earth’s water being fresh water, the mission of our campaign is to educate children and their parents that everyday actions can and do make a difference in water conservation,” says Woods, who served as team manager. Ultimately, the campaign hopes to raise awareness of the importance of encouraging sustainable consumption and behaviors that are eco-friendly.

Woods and the rest of the team partnered with the Onondaga County Resource Recovery Agency to help execute the Rosamond Gifford Zoo’s Party for the Planet celebration on April 17. The event helped interested children and their parents learn about fun ways to conserve water. The team created a coloring book, distributed to children during the event, that served as an additional learning tool about water conservation. The team also produced a viral video (viewable on YouTube) illustrating small ways people can help the environment.

The team also won $10,000 worth of Kohler HET toilets, to be installed in a campus building (yet to be determined) and an all-expense-paid trip to Kohler’s headquarters in Kohler, Wis., where they will meet with Kohler’s marketing and communications executive team. Each team member also received water conservation products, and a $500 award was given to SU’s PRSSA chapter.

“I think what attracted Kohler to our campaign was that it was different, and it took an approach that included working with local organizations and causes that are sustainable,” Woods says.

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