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From classroom to race course, public relations students put skills to test for Imagine No Malaria


Crystal Caviness
April 20th, 2015

Few activities take the place of hands-on, dive in and see what it’s really like when it comes to learning.  Dan Steinberg, professor at Otterbein University at Westerville, Ohio, ascribes to that philosophy too, which is what led to the semester-long assignment for Steinberg’s Public Relations for Non-Profit Organizations class.

The assignment: organize and publicize the Skeeter Stomp 5K Run and 1-Mile Walk, an event to raise funds for Imagine No Malaria, an initiative by the people of The United Methodist Church to prevent malaria deaths.

“I believe strongly in Otterbein’s initiative regarding experiential learning whereby students learn by experience,” Steinberg said.

The 22 students in the class, who range from freshman to seniors, have been planning the Skeeter Stomp since the semester began in January. Almost half of the students’ collective grade depends on how well their organizational and communication skills attract participants.

“My assigning a portion of each student’s grade based on the number of Skeeter Stomp registrants is a professional-world extension of evaluation,” said Steinberg.

The Skeeter Stomp will be held at 2 p.m. April 26, one day after World Malaria Day, at Otterbein’s cross country course. Otterbein, Church of the Master United Methodist Church and Church of the Messiah United Methodist Church are hosting the event.

“(This assignment) provides us a lot of autonomy in gaining real world experience and insight into planning and executing an event from start to finish,” said student Adam Piccin, president of Otterbein’s chapter of Public Relations Student Society of America. “(It) definitely motivates our class to utilize our professional skills and it is great preparation for upcoming internships and jobs that a textbook cannot compete with.”



About Imagine No Malaria
Imagine No Malaria is an extraordinary ministry of the people of The United Methodist Church, putting faith into action to end preventable deaths from malaria in Africa, especially the death of a child or mother. With a comprehensive approach to fighting this killer disease, Imagine No Malaria empowers the people of Africa to improve health infrastructure and achieve a sustainable victory over malaria.