WVU P.I. Reed School of Journalism public relations students will showcase their semester-long campaign at the annual West Virginia Campus Compact conference Wednesday, April 20.

Led by Assistant Professor Dr. Rita Colistra, the 18 students are collaborating with the Ritchie Progress Alliance to promote its Buy Local Initiative, a campaign to educate the citizens of Ritchie County, W.Va., about the economic value of shopping at locally owned businesses. The students will present their work at 1 p.m., 2:20 p.m. and 3:05 p.m. at the Fairmont State University and Pierpont Community and Technical College Falcon Center.

The partnership was established by a $5,000 Campus-Community LINK grant from West Virginia Campus Compact.

“I am looking forward to sharing our work so far and getting feedback from other groups who are also completing service learning projects with grants,” said Alexa Hadfield, a public relations junior. “I hope to meet the individuals from [West Virginia Campus Compact] who made the Buy Local Initiative possible for our class and the people of Ritchie County.”

The conference presentation is an opportunity for the class to present its accomplishments throughout the semester, including published media, an official slogan and logo, planning the upcoming Ritchie County Business Expo and increased participation by Ritchie County citizens.

“The conference is a good way for us to expose the Buy Local Initiative outside of Ritchie County and beyond its surrounding counties,” said Bridget Feeney, a public relations junior. “This expands the reach of ideas and encourages more people to buy locally.”

In another part of the conference, some students will participate in a poster session to talk to others more personally about the Buy Local Initiative.

“The panel and poster display part of the conference will allow us to share our goals for the Buy Local Initiative in a one-on-one setting,” said Andria Alvarez, a public relations junior. “We hope to show how hard we’ve worked and how we are using the grant effectively for a good cause.”

Students are excited to take part in this culminating experience to conclude the semester.

“The conference is allowing us as a class to show off everything we’ve done for the Buy Local Initiative,” Feeney said. “We put so much effort into making the concept of buying local into real actions, rather than just an idea.”

A division of the Ritchie Progress Alliance, the Buy Local Committee was established in 2010 to increase community awareness of the importance and economic value of shopping at local businesses rather than those outside the county. For more information about the Ritchie County Buy Local Initiative, contact Dave Scott at 304-643-2738.



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CONTACT: Katlin Stinespring, PR Intern