Friday, May 21, 2010

Life Lessons from Chris Christie

Since Chris Christie stepped into office as NJ's governor, the news I wake up to every day is increasingly grim. It seems instead of actually representing the people who put him in office, he's waging war against them with his senseless budget cuts. 

For example, the public libraries are one of the areas that are facing huge hits in funding. This will result in a tragic loss of services for the general public as well as students throughout the state. To support the libraries that have kept me in books while the recession raped my bank accounts and helped me get through many a college paper, I signed an online petition that went to my local congressmen and to Christie himself. 

What do I get in return? I bunch of auto-generated e-mail responses that are so political, they gave me a headache. The worst was the one from Christie's "Office of Constituent Relations," which held a disclaimer at the end that said: Privacy Notice: This e-mail address, e-mail message, and any attachment to this email message contains information that is privileged and confidential from the State of New Jersey, Office of the Governor.

Ok, first, why isn't how the governor responds to the public considered public record? Shouldn't the public be aware of the line of BS that helps Christie sleep at night so that they know how to properly defend themselves when the strike hits?

Second, when I hit reply and wrote "Maybe this would be more effective if it weren't a form letter. This isn't helping your cause." I was immediately greeted with another auto-generated e-mail telling me that my response was undeliverable. Don't know why I thought any different!

I'm sorry Christie, I just don't believe that you'll take my opinion under consideration when making your decisions about what happens to me and those in my charge as a state employee, despite your reassurances that you will. 

As a governor, you have done nothing but alienate this constituent and the harder you push, the more you will push us away. Didn't anyone ever tell you the fable about the sun and the wind? Is that why you're condemning the next generation of NJ children to live in your ignorance as well?

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

PR Writing Students Rock this Semester

I am so proud of my Public Relations Writing students this semester that I just had to share the great work they've done.

A large part of their grade is based on a group project. Each group worked with a nonprofit organization to raise funds and awareness, while using public relations strategies and deliverables to promote their activities. What started as a simple class project resulted in more than I could have ever expected:

Little Kids Rock:
Two groups held events for this nonprofit organization that provides instruments and music education for school districts that can't afford them. One group worked with a university concert organization to host a benefit concert that featured national and local up-and-coming artists.

The other group worked with Alexus Steakhouse and several campus organizations to put on Kiddie Concert at the Lex, an afternoon of fun and music for kids of all ages. Together, both groups raised over $1,000 for Little Kids Rock, which is enough to provide instruments for two entire classes of young musicians.

Starlight Children's Foundation NY*NJ*CT:
Three groups worked on various projects for this organization. One group collected funds and donations of crayons and coloring books to complete Starlight's Admit Kits, backpacks filled with personal care and comfort items to help ease the fears and pain children go through when facing a long stay in the hospital. After two events and having collection boxes places several places on campus, they collected enough to complete 25 Admit Kits.

Another group is raising funds to provide brand new teddy bears for children in local hospitals. They created a Web site ( where people can donate, held and event, and used publicity to raise awareness for their project and drive traffic to their site. They have raised enough money for 3 bears so far and their Web site will be collecting donations through May 31. Any little bit helps, so please check it out.  

The third group is selling bracelets through the rest of the summer to go toward the purchase of a Fun Center for a local hospital. The Starlight Children’s Foundation’s Fun Centers enable children in hospitals to pass the time playing Nintendo Wii, virtual games, and DVD’s right from their beds. The goal of these centers is to put a smile on children’s faces and make their recovery seem faster. Bracelets are being sold for $3 each. Contact Tyler DeMatteo at if you're interested in purchasing one.

Two groups worked with the New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. The first group created a variety of press materials to help educate NJ residents about the organization and its need for community support. They focused on April as National Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month as a news peg to reach various news organizations and promote a fundraising event in Englewood. The second group developed flyers, press releases, audio news releases and PSAs to promote NJSPCA's involvement with the Quick Chek NJ Festival of Ballooning from July 23 - 25.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Morris, Bergen & Passaic County:
Finally, one group of three students organized and held a clothing drive in Englewood for this organization. Dubbed Project BAM (which stands for Brian, Andreas, and Mike), the event drew 20 participants who donated a total of 409 pounds of clothing to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Morris, Bergen, Passaic.  

All of these students worked extremely hard and should be proud of what they accomplished this semester.