From the first week of the fall quarter, a class of fourteen students worked to promote inclusion, diversity, and equity for youth cycling by partnering with a farmer Level 1 USA Cycling coach, Sean Wilson, Ph.D., to create a six-week public relations campaign that would further Wilson’s vision. The students came from Communications 442 PR Campaign course and began the grueling task of launching Youth Cycling Association (YCA) from the ground up.
YCA was nothing but an idea at the beginning with no social media, no website, and no real concrete presence on the internet. Wilson is a professor teaching at Loma Linda University and has little to no background in public relations. Where he lacks in experience with public relations, he makes up for with experience in the cycling community. Working closely with Wilson, the students were able to launch YCA on November 12, 2019.
The association in question hopes to provide and facilitate cycling programs for youth regardless of age, ethnicity, race, or disability. Using the resources available through Wilson, YCA hopes to make a difference for the lives of all young cyclists.
“Youth Cycling Association is proud to provide the resources that will help shape the lives of youth from all walks of life. Our organization is dedicated to the success of our youth cyclists, both on and off the bike,” said Wilson.
The launch of YCA required all students to work on multiple projects and communicate effectively with each other and the client. They created a website, social media platforms, and a brand logo for the launch. Three press releases were issued within the six-week execution phase of the campaign and were featured in over sixty-three different media sites across the web including the front page of socalcycling.com.
“It can be challenging working in public relations, and even more when working with so many different groups and moving components,” said fourth-year, media relations coordinator, Kylie Neighbor. “The most meaningful takeaway for me was the experience of tackling challenges as they came and overcoming them to produce work I was proud of.”
Along with launching socials and grabbing media attention from sources outside of CSUSB, the team of students threw two attention-grabbing events that invited prominent guest cyclists to the campus. Patricia Baker, 80, a world record holder and a two-time Olympic cyclist, Giddeon Massie both came to visit the students and share their stories with anybody who would listen.
Through tabling events, fifty-one CSUSB students have joined the YCA movement by signing up for the new monthly newsletter created by the class. In one day, YCA’s Instagram jumped from nineteen followers to 110 followers. The campus helped share the news by putting a public service announcement on Coyote Radio and even featuring Massie’s guest appearance on the front page of the Department of Communication Studies website.
Fourth-year student and the campaigns digital strategist, Elena Johnson, shared, “The biggest takeaway from this entire campaign would be understanding the great impact that public relations professionals have on the world and how we can truly make a difference just through executing a campaign. As a team, we did so much on behalf of YCA in just a short amount of time. Learning to execute a plan from start to finish was what I found as the most meaningful part of the entire campaign. I really enjoyed working with a team and executing this plan. I feel it has really prepared me to be a public relations professional and take my skills to the next level.”
Since the launch, the students are proud to say that they have helped create the foundation for YCA to become the great organization it can become and change the lives of future generations that YCA can reach.