University System of Georgia

The central communications/public information operation for the USG

Board Of Regents Launches “Prep It Up!” Campaign

Atlanta — February 7, 1997

“PREP IT UP!” is the theme of a statewide communications campaign being launched this week by the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia. Developed with private sector support, the campaign targets seventh and eighth graders to increase their awareness of new admission requirements for the 34 public colleges and universities which go into effect in 2001.

Current eighth graders will be the first class impacted by the new requirements, and the campaign is aimed at ensuring their preparation while reaching down one class into the middle school pipeline. The broadcast and video campaign seeks to immediately grab the attention of these students by using rap and rock music as its “hook.” According to University System of Georgia Chancellor Stephen Portch, “by speaking to young people in their own voice, we are more likely to get our message across.”

A :30-second Public Service Announcement highlights the Board of Regents’ new expectations of middle schoolers, while a 10-minute student-oriented videotape details the academic courses required for completion of the Board of Regents’ College Preparatory Curriculum. The tape also extols the benefits of the state’s HOPE (Helping Outstanding Pupils Educationally) program in providing financial support for Georgia’s students to attend a college or university. In addition, it compares the benefits of high school vs. college graduation and provides information about the Board of Regents’ Post-Secondary Readiness Enrichment Program (PREP), a year-round academic enrichment project for students in at-risk situations.

The Georgia Association of Broadcasters has embraced the communications campaign as a public service project, by collaborating with the Board of Regents to distribute copies of the PSA to 270 radio stations and 36 television stations around the state.

“When parents, administrators and other adults see the public service announcements on television and hear them on the radio, I’d like them to remind themselves that this campaign is aimed at young people who watch MTV and BET and listen to music a lot different than adults like ourselves. Our goal is to capture the attention of young people and to make them listen! If we can get their attention, then we can pass along the critical information they need to know to prepare themselves for the future,” Portch stated.

Board of Regents officials plan to distribute the 10-minute, student-oriented video to more than 400 schools around the state and to various educational, civic and professional organizations that influence the academic choices of young people. Those organizations that cater to the needs of students in at-risk situations will be especially targeted.

The communications campaign was developed by the Board of Regents’ Office of Media and Publications, with pro bono support provided by Atlanta’s WSB-TV, Channel 2; Georgia Power Company, and the public relations and marketing firm GCI/Atlanta. WSB-TV Editorial/Public Affairs Director Jocelyn Dorsey produced the :30-second rap PSA, which features students from Shamrock and Stephenson middle schools in DeKalb County. Shawn Shepard, a local voice-over talent, narrated the rap script.

Commenting on the reason WSB-TV decided to support the communications campaign, Dorsey said: “We were pleased to see the Board of Regents take such a bold step in communicating their new policy, because young people are our future and educating them should be our number one priority. At Channel 2, we believe we have a responsibility to use the power of our medium to make our communities better, and that includes advocating for those who cannot advocate for themselves.”

Georgia Power Company provided in-kind video production services for the 10-minute video, as did public relations executives at GCI/Atlanta. Ken Willis, president of GCI/Atlanta, serves as chair of a statewide Communications Advisory Board formed to increase awareness of the new admissions requirements by tapping the expertise of some of the state’s most active and civic-minded public relations and communications professionals.

Two brochures also serve as companion collaterals in the communications campaign, one detailing the Boards’ 2001 Admissions Requirements and the other highlighting the benefits and specifics of the board’s PREP initiative. These brochures also are targeted at middle school students and their parents, and will be distributed through the schools and to organizations that provide outreach to young people.

Those with questions regarding the University System of Georgia’s new admissions requirements or the Board of Regents’ PREP program should contact their local public college or university or the Board of Regents offices in Atlanta at (404) 656-2250.

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