Students Fight Cancer Through Public Relations

By Ashley Bradley

The American Cancer Society not only helps fight cancer, but also prepares Chico State public relations students for the real world.

Public relations interns are responsible for being the liaison between the organization and the community through media pitching, donor relations, helping with events and promoting the services the American Cancer Society offers. The spring 2008 intern, Emily Whitehead, fulfilled these tasks and had the opportunity to go on air with a local news station to promote the American Cancer Society event, Daffodil Days.

The American Cancer Society has been part of Chico State’s public relations intern program since the 1990s.

Phyllis Bond, the director of community services for the American Cancer Society field office, has been the supervisor for many of the interns. She has been pleased with the Chico State public relations interns and said that having Chico State students work with nonprofit organizations benefits the community.

“By helping nonprofit organizations who do not have financial resources to hire PR staff, the intern can serve as the continuity for a project from the beginning to the end,” Bond said.

As an intern, Whitehead was responsible for communicating with all of the Daffodil Days donors. She even got some experience in crisis management due to confusion in the switch from a traditional donation process to an online donation process.

“It really taught me a lot about dealing with people,” Whitehead said.

The public relations intern also has the opportunity to help the American Cancer Society outside of the public relations industry. For example, Whitehead was so committed to working with the organization that she volunteered to be the event assistant the day of the Relay For Life event, as well as be a participant in the event.

“I really believe in what the American Cancer Society does, so it was really exciting for me to promote one of their campaigns,” Whitehead said.

The ability for Chico State public relations interns to spend their time learning about the industry through organizations such as the American Cancer Society not only benefits the student and the organization, but it also makes the city a more vibrant and diverse place by bridging the gap between the college community and the Chico community.

“We get help and we also feel that we give the intern valuable experience too,” Bond said. “They can use this on their resume.”

To view examples of work intern Emily Whitehead has done for the American Cancer Society, view the links below:

Daffodil Days Article

Relay for Life Reception Announcement

Media Pitch