If you walked by the Allen Gates between 4 to 6 p.m. on Monday, chances are you noticed a huge yellow banner reading “Drive With Care. Walk Aware.” The group responsible for this call-to-action are public relations students enrolled in COMM 473: Public Relations Campaigns.
Remy Morris, a senior public relations major, tells Valley that the State College Police Department (SCPD) approached the class in hopes of teaming up for the students’ capstone project. SCPD wants to “ensure the safety of residents.”
Morris reveals, “Within the last three years, there have been five fatal crashes.”
In July 2014, a student was struck and killed by a vehicle while jogging. In September 2015, a student was killed after being struck by a vehicle at an intersection. Last February, a Ph.D. student was struck and killed while crossing the street.
Morris hopes that the event will influence at least one person: “J-walking might not seem like a problem…students have to get to class on time, but there are lives at stake.”
Also featured at the Allen Gates was an interactive white board where the State College community could offer their ideas to a prompt that said, “While waiting at the crosswalk, you can….” The responses varied from silly to serious, including “Text a loved one,” “Learn a new word,” “Call your parents,” “Pet a cute dog,” or even “Chat with Mike the Mailman,” who made an appearance at the intersection expressing his concern that we are “always darting across the street!”
More highlights of the campaign included a twitter competition and valentines. Ashley Hansen, a senior public relations major, was seen handing out valentines to pedestrians.
In a cute Valentine’s Day spin, she explained, “If we catch someone following crosswalk rules, they get a valentine!”
The valentines read, “Stop! In the name of love,” reinforcing the idea that we should all be more aware of our footing at a stoplight— instead of crossing early you should perhaps “flirt with your neighbor.”
The twitter contest included a video project of prospects telling their craziest close-call stories on the road while either driving or walking. The winner will receive a $50 gift card to downtown businesses.
Professor Tara Wyckoff was also in attendance to see her class engaged in their campaign for traffic and pedestrian safety. Wyckoff tells Valley that her students have to develop a program based on their research and implement it. The “Stop In The Name of Love” event is the first of three events that will generate awareness. She declares that “subsequent events will focus on driver safety and high school students.”
With students intermediately coming and going to check out the “Stop In The Name of Love event,” along with a few honks of support, the project was not only successful, but also fun and interactive and a great way to raise awareness to an often forgotten cause.