Martin Hall Agency (MHA), a faculty-led, student-run advertising and public relations agency operating out of West Virginia University's Reed College of Media, was recognized at the West Virginia Public Relations Society of America’s (WV PRSA) 2022 Crystal Awards ceremony.
MHA was awarded three Crystal Awards, the highest honor a public relations campaign can receive from WV PRSA, and one honorable mention during the ceremony Aug. 26 in Charleston – held in-person for the first time since 2019. Public relations senior Cheyenne Oakes and journalism graduate student Rachel Johnson represented the agency at the ceremony alongside Advertising and Public Relations Program Chair Geah Pressgrove.
“I was honored to have the opportunity to attend the 2022 Crystal Awards,” Oakes said. “Students in MHA work hard throughout the semester to create campaigns that have impact for local clients so it means a lot to be recognized and know that work has made a difference.”
The Humans of Morgantown campaign — or HoM, pronounced “home,” — won in the Community Relations Campaign category. HoM was an education and awareness campaign, produced in collaboration with the Morgantown City Council’s Committee on Unsheltered Homelessness. The campaign highlighted stories of housed and unhoused Morgantown residents side-by-side to illustrate the similarities between them. The campaign utilized in-person and digital tactics to help destigmatize the unsheltered population.
The Community Action Poverty Simulation won in both the “Event (7 days or less)” and “Research” categories. MHA collaborated with the WVU Schools of Public Health and Pharmacy, the Health Sciences Center Office of Interprofessional Education, and the STEPS Center to execute a two-hour Community Action Poverty Simulation during which participants learned first-hand what it might be like to live in poverty for a month. More than 80 students and community members in healthcare fields attended and participated in discussions about the challenges faced by people living in poverty.
MHA’s First Amendment: Banned, Canceled, Censored project won Honorable Mention in the Public Service Campaign category. MHA received a grant from The Free Speech Center at Middle Tennessee State University to raise awareness of the First Amendment at WVU. The goal of the campaign was to show WVU students how their lives might be different without the freedoms protected under the First Amendment. Tactics included hanging fliers around campus announcing the censorship of certain music, historic and literary figures and putting chains around newspapers.