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Emerge Magazine

Graduating PR Students Flex Strategic and Creative Muscle

On Tuesday, March 23, eight teams of University of Guelph-Humber students presented detailed COVID-response plans to help Coca-Cola Bottling Canada, Sobeys, Sunwing and CAMH (The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health) to overcome real business challenges they are currently facing.

Video call with the winners of the Pitch

Photo Credits: Arabella Rizzo


The university’s capstone projects, collectively called EMERGE, have won more than 300 international awards since they launched in 2011. Pre-pandemic, it involved publications, special events with guest speakers and multiple attendees, a visual showcase and a full range of web, marketing and graphic design support. 


COVID-19 impeded in-person events, causing the students and faculty to think of something revolutionary. The university hosted this live pitch competition as the fourth-year Media Studies capstone project. Students developed public relations campaigns, organized budgets and presented ideas to real industry professionals. Fourth-year Public Relations students created their own team-agency names and applied the knowledge they have accumulated over four years to flex their strategic and creative muscles for one of four clients. For most of these students, The Pitch was the final assignment of their undergraduate university careers.


The first winner of this new event was a team called Element PR. “We are so thankful to have had the opportunity to pitch to Sobeys and showcase what we learned over the last four years. My team and I are absolutely thrilled that we won and we feel like all our hard work throughout the semester finally paid off,” Team lead Monica Barbaro says, “We extend our congrats to the other team, The Source PR who also pitched an amazing comms plan for Voilà by Sobeys.”


These students paved the way for a fresh illustration of success for fourth-year PR students. Beyond COVID-19, the hope is that this event will grow into an annual competition. The Pitch tests each student’s ability to collaborate, demonstrate how well they understood their client and applied research, analysis, critical thinking, persuasive writing and presentation skills to solve real business problems. 


The list of winners and their team logos:


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Abbey Cole is a motivated Public Relations student who is passionate about diversity and inclusion. Since 2018, she has been a strong community member at #UofGH as the Social Media Assistant. She hopes to become an international change maker and be featured MXN’s 100 Most Powerful Women in Canada before 2030. Abbey currently hosts weekly Club House live podcast rooms to discuss a variety of media relations topics. More information can be found on her LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/acole04/

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