The Plank Center for Leadership in Public Relations has started a tradition that has the makings to become a national public relations holiday — Betsy Plank Day.
Last year’s inaugural Betsy Plank Day was mainly celebrated at The University of Alabama because that’s where the Plank Center finds its home. However, social media allowed Betsy’s 90th birthday party to take steps toward national publicity.
This year, #BetsyDay took over Twitter on April 2, and showed PRSSA students and professionals joining together to celebrate Betsy’s legacy. Twelve PRSSA Chapters entered the #BetsyDay challenge, creating a national Betsy buzz that has never been seen.
The Plank Center wanted to make Betsy come alive for students. As the “Godmother of PRSSA” and the “First Lady” of PR, she had much to offer that unfortunately most of us were never able to witness firsthand. However, her artifacts, wisdom and impact are still present, and able to inspire us all. This was the idea behind the #BetsyDay challenge of 2015, which called upon all PRSSA Chapters to get involved and bring Betsy to their campuses.
Step one of the challenge required each chapter to take a selfie of its members watching a short Betsy Plank documentary. Chapters tweeted the selfies to the Plank Center to start the buzz in March.
Step two allowed chapters to get creative. With no requirements and a “sky’s the limit” approach, chapters were tasked with the challenge of innovatively promoting #BetsyDay on their campuses. The results showed just how much Betsy is still in the hearts of PR students today.
The University of Alabama PRSSA chapter took Betsy’s passions for students and Polaroids, and created a tribute to the PR legend. Members wrote personal notes to Betsy on the bottom of a giant Polaroid cutout and took their picture with it. The pictures were then compiled into a video that included testimonies from students thanking Betsy for her dedication to the industry.
The grand prize of the challenge, the “Betsy Bundle,” included quarterly Skype sessions with a Plank Center board member, a year-long subscription to PRWeek, a six month online subscription to PRWeek for each member, a chapter recommendation from the Plank Center and the title of Betsy Day 2015 Champions.
#BetsyDay had participation from 361 online users, including posts from Peru and Spain among other areas. While we are still waiting on a winner, one thing is clear—Betsy Plank had a birthday party fit to honor a true PR legend!
-by Taylor Shelnutt, PRSSA Executive Member
All blogs are written by general members of UAPRSSA and Capstone Agency.