Cleaning Up Negative PR

September 27, 2009 at 6:15 pm (Uncategorized)

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So I am sure that everyone has heard to some extent about the huge mess that campus was left in after the last home game. Trash cans were overflowing, piles of trash were strewn everywhere. I even heard rumors about people not wanting to wait in line to use port-a-potties, so they did their business out in the grass like a household pet. The aftermath was gross and just plain rude. I felt the strong urge for everyone to revert back to their childhood days of watching Barney and singing the “Clean Up” song.

70 tons of trash and $40,000 of university money later, campus was finally recognizable again. But the press that followed slammed the 15,000-20,000 tailgaters who helped in trashing campus for the first home game.

That’s when Alpha Kappa Psi, one of UGA’s co-ed professional business fraternities stepped in. I have been a member of AKPsi for over a year now, and I have to say this is one of the projects we have been most dedicated to. We developed a program called “More Classy, Less Trashy” to promote tailgaters to be more conscious of clean-up efforts. A PR team was developed to promote the program around campus to donate a roll of trash bags to the house to be distributed to tailgaters the next home game. We received a lot of positive press from this effort, and many trash bags were donated over the two week leading up to last night’s game.

This was good press for the university as well as AKPsi. Not only did the university receive good press for having strong motivation to correct their problems, but we as a fraternity received a lot of public attention because of it. The following is a quote from an alumni e-mail sent to our chapter a few days before the game:

“Congratulations on the attention your garbage bag collection project is earning leading up to this week’s football game.  I’ve seen mention on several of the Georgia football blogs which garner a lot of attention from the fan base.  Thank you for volunteering AKPsi resources to help combat the game-day trash issue on North Campus.  I’m impressed with the response of the fraternity, the ownership of the campus and the issues that threaten campus life (i.e. tailgating!!), as well as the wonderful job you’ve done of promoting the efforts your undertaking for the good of the University.”

To me, this was a perfect opportunity for AKPsi to garner a lot of positive attention for little to no cost at all. Most of the bags were donated, and the press coverage that ensued was all free as well. A win-win situation for them and the university.

I’m interested to see what press coverage the trash situation gets this week. It’s a toss-up between the rain driving away tailgaters and the increased number of trash bags, but to me it seemed like campus looked a lot neater after the game last night.

AKPsi is continuing their program this week as well, and all donations, monetary or plastic, are welcomed in preparation for the LSU game.

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3 Comments

  1. selewis said,

    This is a great idea! I know I was out tailgating along with everyone else but I remember leaving to go into the game and taking a picture of how gross North Campus was. I understand everyone wants to have fun but seriously take some responsibility and pick up after yourself. I think what AKPsi is doing is great and the idea of building a PR team around that is smart. The slogan is catchy and true and I hope that your campaign really pulls through and makes a difference.

  2. mmtramm said,

    I am so glad someone stepped in on the disaster the tailgaters make on campus. Every Saturday when I walk back from games I am amazed to see how trash is everywhere and sometimes it even looks like tailgaters clean up their area by throwing everything on the ground. I think I was most appaled one Saturday that I had to ring the bell, a tradion we have after every win, and I walked through north campus. Wow. I’ve heard that is the awesome student tailgate spot but it was unreal how trashed the place was. I caouldn’t believe students would leave it like that, but I guess when they are completely intoxicated and know that UGA has a clean up crew they feel it’s not going to affect them and don’t care. Anyways, enough about what I saw, I think your organization is awesome for doing what they are doing to help clean up games days. All it took was a little bit of PR to get people’s attention and I think you guys have done a great job!

  3. Tyler said,

    Great effort for a great cause! We are supposed to be stewards of this earth and as students stewards of this campus. I think it is important that we focus on the traditional values of taking resposibility but also serving as a protector of this nation’s opportunities like getting to enjoy a game. Great job on taking leadership on this issue!

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