Line blurred between classroom and workplace

Ten Xavier students act as public relations representatives for the Evanston Community Council | November 9, 2004

For 10 Xavier students, the fine line between the classroom and the workplace is becoming blurred. Thomas Schick, who teaches the course, Public Relations, Practice in Society, allows students to act as public relations representatives for real clients while at the same time providing them the chance to enhance the community around the University. For the fourth semester, the class is partnering with the Evanston Community Council to manage its community relations.

The students recently assisted the community council with publicizing the groundbreaking of a 24-unit housing project in Evanston. Students spread word of the event to local media by writing and distributing a media alert. They also arranged interviews between the media and those closely involved with the project, and helped coordinate details—such as arranging speakers and obtaining chairs and other materials—for the ceremony.

Micah Brooks, a senior public relations major in Schick’s class, says the class is helping her “gain valuable experience that is necessary for a career in public relations as well as providing a realistic outlook to what it will be like working in public relations.”

Cincinnati Mayor Charlie Luken attended the groundbreaking and noted how fortunate Evanston is to have Xavier as a member of its community. University President Michael J. Graham, S.J., gave the invocation at the groundbreaking and said that Xavier needs to be more engaged in the Evanston community.

“This is a memorable day for our community,” says Sharon Muyaya, president of the Evanston Community Council, who later went on to thank former University President James E. Hoff, S.J., explaining that he was the first contact she made with Xavier and citing the wonderful relationship they maintained.

Funding for the project comes from the City of Cincinnati, the Cincinnati Development Fund and the National City Community Development Corporation. The Walnut Hills Redevelopment Foundation and the Avondale Redevelopment Corporation are building the townhouses, named Jonathan Meadows, on Jonathan Avenue next to Walnut Hills High School. This project marks the first new housing development in Evanston in the past two decades.

Other projects the students are working on for the Council include its end-of-the-year gala and dinner at the Mount Vernon Hotel on Dec. 4 and a bi-monthly newsletter that the Council sends out to its citizens.