Veteran awareness campaign wins national honor

By Darin Watkins, Edward R. Murrow College of Communication

veteransPULLMAN, Wash. – A public relations campaign promoting education to military veterans won national recognition for Washington State University students Steffen Stroup, Alberto Vázquez, Madison Miller and Micah Peyron.

They won one of 16 honorable mentions from among 70 entries submitted in the annual Bateman Case Study Competition of the Public Relations Student Society of America. Three finalists will go on to compete in May.

“While this is a win for our students, the campaign itself has proven to be a real winner in the way it connected student veterans at WSU with other students, along with organizations that support them on campus,” said advisor Chris Cooney, a clinical assistant professor of communications at the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication.

The campaign centered on a tent on the Terrell mall in March that provided information on services and resources for vets, as well as hot drinks and a sitting area for students to hang out and talk with each other.

Six designs of “I Served” buttons were handed out for students to display on backpacks or bags to show a connection based around the military. Nearly 200 veterans placed pins on a map to show where they had served.

“There were people walking up and taking pins – from the maintenance crew to a dean of one of the colleges – which made me say, ‘Wow I had no idea,’” said veteran and WSU student Aaron Fisher.

“Once you get out of the military, you are kind of lost in a sense,” said Mike Soloman, WSU Student Veterans Association chairman. “Seeing people pin different areas, foreign and domestic, was a great conversation piece and really brought us back to where we were many years ago.”

“I’m glad we were able to raise awareness of veterans’ service to our country and how a college degree builds on their military experience to enable lifelong success,” Cooney said.

Read an earlier article about the information tent event at