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Montclair SCM Student Team Celebrates Rich Diversity of Campus in Month-Long Campaign for National Case Study Competition

Posted in: School of Communication and Media News

Students holding up flags from around the world, while smiling and standing and sitting in two rows.
More than 300 students attended Cultur-ella, which featured many activities, including a performance from the LASO dance troupe.

A team of Montclair State School of Communication & Media students have created Montclair Culturs, a month-long campaign designed to educate, celebrate, and spotlight the diverse and rich cultural stories of our campus community. This effort is part of the prestigious national Bateman Case Study Competition, hosted by the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA), whereby student teams must design, implement, and measure a public relations campaign to support the goals of a real-world client. 

This year’s client is Culturs, a global lifestyle network that enhances community and fosters human connection between cross-cultural populations including racially and culturally blended individuals. The missing “e” in Culturs represents the often-hidden diversities of these populations. 

The team conducted extensive research to discover the insights that were then used to plan and execute the robust on and offline campaign.  Their findings highlighted that more than half of students who identify as multi-ethnic have felt out of place or not fully belonging to one culture; and that 60% of respondents felt their culture was represented on campus but didn’t feel fully seen or heard.  

A team of six students and faculty sitting in two rows, smiling and dressed professionally.
The ’23-24 SCM Bateman team (top left to right): Diana Ochoa-Perez, Professor Mary Scott, Rianna Cafaro; (bottom L to R): Gina-Marie Zoccoli, Kaylee Seitz, Gabriella Castillo.

The Montclair Culturs campaign set out to establish an inclusive community that celebrates cultural diversity through engaging conversations and shared learning experiences, fostering a deeper understanding and appreciation of multiculturalism.

Anchored by a robust Instagram account, the campaign featured the following initiatives:

  • The Melting Pot Meals :  a collaborative digital and printed cookbook featuring Montclair students sharing cultural dishes from around the world and the significance of these recipes.
  • Cultur-ella: Inspired by Coachella, the team hosted a festival celebrating the cultures of Montclair State through dance, music, and art. The more than 300 attendees made cultural bracelets, danced alongside the LASO dance troupe, Montclair West African Drumming, and influencer Jerseyy Joe, and also learned about the many cultural organizations on campus including Daughta Speaks, the Dominican Student Organization (DSO), the Korean Culture and Language Association (KCLA), the Latin American Student Organization(LASO), the Mexican-American Student Association (MASA), and the Veteran and Military Resource office.
  • Cultural Print: More than 500 people took the pledge to embrace cultural diversity and shared their personal cultural print on our world map representing their heritage and ethnicities.
  • Living in Full Color: An Intimate Conversation on Culture:   a curated conversation with NBC and Telemundo, Montclair faculty and students on multiculturalism and 21st-century diversity.  Kicked off by Provost Junius Gonzales and hosted by Associate Provost for Hispanic Initiatives and International Programs Katia Paz Goldfarb, the event featured WNBC reporter Checkey Beckford and Telemundo 47’s Ashley Chaparro, Yessi Hernandez and Alexa Rodriguez.  

The Montclair Culturs campaign was developed by five SCM students: Rianna Cafaro (’24), Gabriella Castillo (’24), Diana Ochoa-Perez (’24), Kaylee Seitz (’25) and Gina-Marie Zoccoli (’25). Professor Mary Scott served as the faculty advisor for the third consecutive year and SVP Communications at United Entertainment Group Heter Myers served as the industry advisor. 

The team will conclude the campaign on March 5th and create a submission for the national judging panel.