Oct 052004
Authors: Erin Skarda

The Department of University Relations at CSU received three

Public Relations Society of America Silver Pick Awards at the

annual Colorado chapter awards ceremony on Sept. 23.

The department was recognized as the only winner in the 2004

National Media Relations with budgets of less than $10,000 category

for its entries, “Colorado State University President’s First Year”

and “William Gray and Colorado State’s Hurricane Forecasting


The entry for the “Colorado State University Awarded $56 million

for Three Research Centers” also won in the 2004 Local Media

Relations with budgets under $10,000 category.

CSU spokesman Tom Milligan said the awards highlight not only

the hard work of the university relations staff, but also the

faculty and staff quality at CSU.

“(We) have to have things to talk about,” Milligan said. “I

think we do a good job getting the word out about CSU.”

The university relations department works with media outlets to

tell students, faculty, staff and the Fort Collins community about

events at CSU. The staff writes press releases, runs the Web page,

sends e-mails, produces television spots during athletics, runs ad

campaigns and puts out brochures, a daily newsletter and the alumni


“Our mission is to use clear and compelling communication

tactics to ensure our key audience (has) a clear picture of CSU

that helps them engage,” Milligan said. “There’s a broad range of

tactics and strategies used to understand CSU as an


Milligan also said the university relations department has a

strong internship program for students.

Kate Rizzuto, a senior speech communication major, has worked

for the department for two years. She said one of the best things

about the internship is that the students do not just do work

nobody else wants; they are involved in the department.

“I’ve gained a lot (through the internship). It’s unique that

they don’t just make you answer phones,” Rizzuto said. “Through

(the department) I’ve headed the high school newspaper ad campaign,

written for CSU alumni magazine, learned communication skills and

how to interview. They put you in the middle (working) along side

with them.”

The media relations team was also recognized recently with the

2004 Award for Publication Excellence by Communications Concepts, a

national professional public relations and marketing group. The

department won in the Public Relations and Information Campaigns


This national award was received for efforts to help the public

better understand the nature of bovine spongiform encephalopathy,

or mad cow disease, and the research the university conducted in


Milligan said this award is among the most important initiatives

at CSU.

“The infectious disease research is world-class,” Milligan said.

“To get an award for getting that out there, is a good thing.”

The university relations department was also honored by the 2004

Awards for Publication Excellence earlier this year in several

categories, including Feature Series Writing for Diversity at

Colorado State.

CSU spokesman Brad Bohlander agreed that the awards would not be

possible if it was not for the quality of students, faculty, staff

and work done at the university.

“All the awards are representative of the quality of work done

at Colorado State,” Bohlander said. “These awards not only

represent the quality of work the university relations team does,

but also the university. We couldn’t promote or get this publicity

if there wasn’t great work done at all levels. We are able to be

successful because the university is successful in achieving its


In January the department was awarded the League of American

Communications Professionals 2003 Magellan Platinum Award, the

highest honor in the nation in the Community Relations for an

Educational Institution category, for developing the campaign for

“Bridges to the Future: American History and Values in Light of

September 11.”

Milligan said the university does work that is imperative to the

institution’s success. The university relations department does its

best to match that work, he said.

“It’s always nice to have outside review of your work and get

recognized for doing a good job,” Milligan said. “When you don’t

win it shows something, too. We can always get better. I think (the

department) is an asset to the institution. We do a good job in a

lot of the things we accomplish.”

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