Eleven nonprofits. 85 students. 2,040 hours. $59,600 in donated work. Capstone Agency CreateAthon was a 24-hour medley of hard work, sleep deprivation and unforgettable memories. The PRSSA executive board shares their favorite moments from the marathon. President: Bethany Corne CreateAthon is the only time that I get excited about pulling an all-nighter in Reese Phifer, the building for UA’s College of Communication and Information Sciences. It combines my love of so many things—public relations, community service, junk food and, most of all, coffee. My favorite memory from my second CreateAthon is also one of my favorite memories from my lifetime: celebrating my 22nd birthday surrounded by my PR friends. We danced, sang and posed photos right as the clock struck midnight. If that doesn’t scream “great agency culture,” I don’t know what does. It is a memory that I will cherish forever, and I am so thankful to the Capstone Agency and CreateAthon for providing me with this experience.
Firm Director: Maret Montanari Going into this year’s CreateAthon, I knew it would be hard to top last year’s. Working as a strategist on the Alabama Writers Conclave client team was an incredible experience, but I was looking forward to assisting with this year’s event in a different capacity—with the leadership team. I was able to see all of the awesome work our 11 teams created from start to finish. It was inspiring to see 85 students donate 24 hours of their free time to the greater good and impact nonprofits. But the agency is not stopping there, and now, the bar is set even higher for next year’s CreateAthon.
Vice President of Chapter Communications: Anna Claire Toxey Meeting new friends, eating way too much junk food and cuddling with the cutest puppy ever were just a few of the many highlights of my CreateAthon experience. However, if I had to choose only one favorite moment, it would be seeing our client’s reaction at the end of our presentation. Creating work that pleases a client can be hard sometimes, especially when you’re trying to do it in 24 hours, but to see the look of sheer gratitude and appreciation on his face when he saw what we had created for Family Counseling Service made the exhaustion and sleep deprivation well worth it.
Vice President of Community Service and High School Outreach: Elizabeth Driver CreateAthon has to be one of my favorite memories from this semester. I enjoyed working with the Tuscaloosa Metro Animal Shelter on its “Foster First” campaign, which aims to promote the organization’s fostering program. The best part of CreateAthon was meeting other agency members that I don’t usually work with. Our team became so close, especially after our three-hour brainstorming session. I am so proud of what our team accomplished in the 24-hour period, and it was all worth it! TMAS is already implementing our campaign on social media.
Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion: Emily Hillhouse Heather, Anna Claire and I went ghost hunting for Clarence, the ghost of Reese Phifer, at 3 a.m, but we ended up getting distracted by all the other teams and what they were working on. Unfortunately, we never made it up to his room. But, my absolute favorite part was getting to work together with people I don't work with every week!
Vice President of Finance and Membership: Skylar Spencer Serving as CreateAthon’s marketing and PR coordinator, I really enjoyed getting to capture the event’s excitement and madness on Capstone Agency’s Twitter and Instagram accounts. Aside from this, being locked inside of Reese Phifer for 24 hours with the best and brightest 85 people I know—through the random bursts of energy and zombie-like exhaustion—was by far my favorite and most cherished part of CreateAthon!
Vice President of Marketing: Heather Griffith Since I was on the leadership team, I wasn’t assigned to one specific client team. Throughout the night, I was able to spend time with different teams. My favorite part of CreateAthon was being able to hop around from room to room and see all the amazing work the teams were doing. Everyone was so dedicated to providing the best work possible for each nonprofit, and it was incredible to see how passionate everyone was.
Vice President of Publication: Hope Todd There were so many great moments during CreateAthon—most of which involved chicken tenders and CookOut milkshakes. However, the most incredible moment of the event was being able to show our work to the client, Boys and Girls Club of West Alabama. Speaking with its directors showed me that what we were working on was bigger than ourselves. Being able to help BGC’s cause definitely made 24 sleepless hours worthwhile.
Vice President of Social Media: Katrina Waelchli Since this is my first semester in the agency, I immediately wanted to engage in CreateAthon to meet new people and gain experience working collaboratively with a client. I had such an enjoyable time working with my team and our client, Tuscaloosa Metro Animal Shelter. My favorite moment from CreateAthon is when my team and I picked our tagline for the campaign: “You are the first step to their forever home. #FosterFirst.” It took us a three-hour brainstorming session, several cups of coffee and help from our faculty adviser, Mrs. Henley. It was a moment of accomplishment for our team, and really catapulted the thought process for the rest of the campaign creation. Foster First, everyone!
Vice President of Web Based Communications: Alyssa Comins I had such a good time working with my client, FOCUS on Senior Citizens. Being able to interact with people in the agency that I don’t often have the opportunity to work with was a great experience. My favorite part about CreateAthon was seeing all our hard work come together at the end. In the wee hours of the morning, it felt very disorganized and hectic. However, when we finished our communication plan and deliverables, I realized what a great finished product we had for our client. It’s amazing what you can accomplish in just 24 hours, and I love knowing our work can help FOCUS on Senior Citizens deliver great services to the Tuscaloosa community.