Organ Donor Awareness Campaign Kicks off at UW Oshkosh

24 04 2017

Abby Reich  By Abby Reich @missabbyrae23

The UW Oshkosh Dr. Julie Henderson Public Relations Student Society of America chapter started its Blooming Lives campaign for the National Organ Donor Awareness Competition on April 13, and they are already “blooming with joy.”

The PRSSA chapter at Rowan University sponsors the competition. The founder of the chapter received a life-saving kidney transplant from his sister, so the chapter created the annual PRSSA competition for other chapters to gain experience in event planning and to bring awareness to organ donation.

The Oshkosh chapter has been planning its campaign since February, and their events will kick off at the end of April. Their campaign has two main components: the Blooming Lives flower drive, which will be held 10 a.m.- 3 p.m. April 27 in Reeve Memorial Union, and a campus-wide planting event on April 29.

Ashley Larson          Working on Campaign

Carissa Brzezinski, the vice president of events for UW Oshkosh’s PRSSA chapter, is leading the campaign. “This campaign is a reflection of our chapter, not just me,” she said. “I want everyone to feel involved throughout the entire process and to feel proud of all the work we have done.”

Brzezinski also came up with the concept of flowers for the campaign. When she was thinking about the campaign, she kept coming back to the idea that NODAC is always held in the spring. She said, “There’s something about the springtime and new life … and that serves organ donation and the new life that it creates, as well.” Members brainstormed the chapter’s name for the campaign, “Blooming Lives” for organ donation, during a chapter meeting.

Blooming Lives Banner

One of the great things about the flower drive is that there will be no charge for the pansies. The flowers will be free to anyone who is a registered organ donor, signs up to become an organ donor or learns more about organ donation at their booth on April 27.

According to Brzezinski, “The goal of the flower drive is to focus on the positive benefits of donation and to celebrate those who are already donors and those who want to learn more and possibly become donors.”

After the flower drive, the chapter will plant 300 pansies on campus in partnership with the university on April 27. The chapter chose orange pansies to create a visual and long-lasting awareness on campus for organ donation. Brzezinski said, “Like organ donation itself, planting these flowers not only benefits the cause, but our campus community as well.” The pansies will be planted in beds on the front side of Kolf, Horizon, Dempsey and the power plant.

The Oshkosh chapter has a long history participating in NODAC starting in 1997 when the competition began. They also have a long history of success. In the last 10 years alone, they have received two firsts, two seconds, and two honorable mentions. Its members are grateful to be able to apply the skills they have learned in the classroom with their peers and colleagues for a very worthy cause.

“Blooming Lives is an honest and genuine campaign focused on bringing even more positivity and grace to the conversation around organ donation,” Brzezinski said. The chapter’s goal is to increase awareness of organ donation, and they hope that the campus community will take part in the Blooming Lives events.

The chapter will learn the results of the competition in May. Winning chapters will be recognized and will receive their awards at the PRSSA National Conference in October 2017.


Advance-Titan 2016-2017 Awards and Achievements

31 03 2017

@Christina Basken (@ChristinaBasken)

(In order top left to bottom right)

Morgan Van Lanen-Head Sports Editor, Austin Walther-Social Media Manager, Alex Nemec-Head News Editor, Mike Johrendt-Assistant Sports Editor, Ti Windisch-Managing Editor, Garrett Wright-Copy Desk Chief, Alyssa Grove-Campus Connections Editor, Kurt Ness-Web Manager, Trevor Hurst-Copy Desk Editor, Nicole Horner-Opinion Editor, Emily Fredrick-Head Photo Editor, Laura Dickinson- Assistant News Editor, Jessica Johnson-Editor-In-Chief, Haley Lentz-Advertising Manager. Not pictured: Alicia Kahl-Assistant Photo Editor.


The UW-Oshkosh Advance-Titan Student Newspaper staff headed to Madison on Feb. 23 to compete in the Wisconsin College Media Association Contest.

During this event, former Editor-In-Chief Katie Knox won first place best news reporting on a piece she wrote about a tattoo project that shed light on mental illness.

“Her piece actually started out as an assignment for my class, but it was so good that we wanted to feature it in the A-T,” said Vincent Filak, adviser of The Advance-Titan.

In addition to this award, reporter Erik Buchinger won first place best sports reporting on his story of UWO quarterback Brett Kasper connecting with his bone marrow transplant recipient, Phoenix Bridegroom.

“It was a huge success for Katie and Erik. I am very proud of both of them,” said Filak.

During fall 2016 semester members of the A-T celebrated a huge win in DC at the Associated Collegiate Press National College Media Convention.

The A-T team submitted their website in a large-scale competition for “best website design and content” among 30 other universities.

“We were all exhausted as we landed in Chicago, but when news hit we found our second wind and celebrated the accomplishment,” said Filak. “It was a pretty big deal for us. We competed on the large scale meaning that we went up against colleges with four times the population and budget, some even with their own web divisions.”

When asked what the biggest contributions were leading up to this victory, Jessica Johnson, the Editor-in-Chief of the Advance-Titan had this to say, “We owe a lot to Kurt Ness. He single-handedly switched our entire operating system over to WordPress, taking advice from all of us along the way making it feel like a real team effort. The website is faster, more reliable, much more user-friendly and visually pleasing.”

The advisor of the paper stated, “We won the award because of the overall website layout and content; reporting, writing and photography. It was especially gratifying to win the award because the judge for this particular entry is very well-known in the community of Journalism as being a very hard critic and I respect him very much,” Filak said.  

A new feature of the website is a section, located under the “report news” tab, where students can submit ideas and feedback on what gets posted.

Looking to the future, the goal of the Advance-Titan is to increase readership and make the student body here at UWO feel more connected to the paper and provide a place for their voices to be heard.

NEWSPA to Sponsor Journalism Competition for High School Students

18 05 2016

By Catie Schultz (@CatieSchultz17)

The Northeastern Wisconsin Scholastic Press Association is sponsoring a yearlong writing contest for Wisconsin high school students as part of a collaborative effort with the Wisconsin Humanities Council and the Pulitzer Prizes Board.


Raquel Rutledge
Pulitzer Prize winner

Students will be able to submit their own work and have it judged by 2010 Pulitzer Prize winner, Raquel Rutledge from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, as well as have the opportunity to win various cash prizes for their winning stories.  Rutledge was the keynote speaker for NEWSPA’s 2016 conference, which kicked off the celebration and unveiled the writing competition.

The winning stories will be announced at the 2017 NEWSPA conference on April 26.The contest will help mark the centennial of the Pulitzer Prizes in 2016, as well as Celebrating Excellence: One Hundred Years of Wisconsin Pulitzer Prize Winners, a program of the Wisconsin Humanities Council that is funded through a grant from the Pulitzer Prizes Centennial Campfires Initiative.

To assist students and their advisers, a 50-page curriculum  guide called “Journalism in the Pulitzer Tradition,” was created by UW Oshkosh Journalism Department members, Barbara Benish, executive secretary of NEWSPA and Miles Maguire, journalism professor and a longtime NEWSPA presenter. The guide was designed to help encourage classroom discussion and give students tips to use for their own reporting projects. It showcases samples of previous prize-winning work in multiple categories such as beat reporting, commentary, explanatory writing, feature writing and investigative reporting, as well as includes potential sources and questions to ask.

This contest is an incredible opportunity to showcase student talent and inspire students to take their writing to a Pulitzer level, according to Benish.


Student’s Green Social Thesis Explores Social Media And Sustainability

10 05 2016

By Carissa Brzezinski (@CJBrzezinski)

Soon-to-be graduating Interactive Web Management/ Journalism student, Madeline Fisher, wants to know whether people are engaging in the sustainable behaviors they see on their social media feeds.

Fisher planned to answer this question through her yearlong research project as part of UW Oshkosh’s Honors Program. Seniors within the honors program are required to complete either an honors thesis or senior seminar to graduate. Students pick any topic that relates to their major and have the ability to choose a faculty member to help guide them. Fisher chose Journalism Professor Sara Steffes Hansen to serve as her faculty advisor.


The official project, Breaking down barriers: The relationship between social media and behavior change within sustainability objectives, includes a formal thesis paper and a digital e-book. Fisher explained how her project explored how people may find sustainable ideas on social media timelines, such as composting, and while liking the ideas, do not act on them.


Inspired by her two-year social media internship with the Sustainable World Coalition, Fisher was used to followers interacting with sustainable information she posted online.

“Followers were engaging with posts: liking, commenting and sharing the information I was distributing,” Fisher said. “But a thought that kept occurring to me was this: Are people actually engaging in sustainable behaviors in real life? If I’m posting all of this social content, is it really making a difference? Or is it just growing the organization’s follower count?”

Thus her project was born, also known as Green Social (#GreenSocial).

“Maddie did an exceptional job of pursuing an important research topic with practical uses for non-profit organizations,” Hansen said. “She also used creative storytelling and appealing visuals to make her findings informational and interesting.”

Fisher’s research included two focus groups with social media users, and one survey with over 300 respondents. She presented her findings at the Celebration of Scholarship, Honors Thesis Symposia and IWM Advisory Board Meeting.

Fisher is one of the first IWM honors thesis projects for UW Oshkosh, and she will be graduating May 14.


Journalism Alumnus Introduces Children To Clash The Titan

15 10 2015


By  Carissa Brzezinski (@CJBrzezinski)

A UW Oshkosh journalism department alumnus is returning to sell and sign copies of his first children’s book, “Hail Titans: Take a Walk with Clash,” at Homecoming on Oct. 17.

In author Cory Jennerjohn’s recently published book, Clash will take young readers on a tour of the Oshkosh campus.

Jennerjohn said he is looking forward to returning to campus for Homecoming, specifically, seeing the new growth on campus like the Alumni Welcome and Conference Center.

“I haven’t even seen the Student Rec and Wellness Center yet,” Jennerjohn said.

The book is Jennerjohn’s own two sons’ first introduction to Clash. His eldest son Carson, 5, liked the mascot. However, Bennet, 2, was unsure of what to make of him.

“Clash is an intimidating presence,” Jennerjohn said laughing.

Even though Jennerjohn said this will be his only book on UW Oshkosh, he is currently working on a similar project with UW-Stevens Point and hopes to collaborate with the rest of the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference in the future. Jennerjohn said he also has an exciting potential project in the works involving the Big Ten, but it will not be aimed towards children.

Jennerjohn expected this first project about UW Oshkosh to last four to six months. Instead, it was a more than a yearlong process, which he said taught him patience.

“The communication process can be overwhelming,” Jennerjohn said. “For example, I had to have patience in choosing an illustrator, editing, making changes and overcoming the multiple hurdles involved with branding, and rightfully so.”

While writing the book itself was a learning process, Jennerjohn said he learned valuable lessons from his time in school as well.

“The journalism professors made me think outside the box and be assertive as a journalist,” Jennerjohn said. “I received memorable support and advice from my adviser Miles Maguire. He told me ‘Use the most of your time. Don’t let a dead end stop you from getting ahead elsewhere.’”

To purchase a copy of “Hail Titans: Take A Walk With Clash,” Jennerjohn will be on campus Saturday, Oct. 17 selling and signing copies at the Alumni Welcome and Conference Center from 9:30-11 a.m. and then at Tent City, south of Titan Stadium, immediately following from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.

The book is also available for purchase on campus at University Books and More and online at Amazon and

2014-2015 — A Year In Review…

19 08 2015

By: Dr. Timothy R. Gleason

2014-2015 was an exciting academic year to kick off my term as department chair. As one administrator kept telling me, it has been an awful year to become chair. My favorite piece of advice is one I learned from the biography of Urban Meyer, the football coach of The Ohio State University Buckeyes, “Don’t tell me the problem. Tell me the solution.”

The biggest news in Wisconsin higher education has been Governor Scott Walker’s $250 million cut to the UW System. The rationale for such a devastating cut is that the University of Wisconsin System is flush with waste. I wish I knew where the budget fat was hidden. Journalism has been running one course short of its usual offerings because of a previous budget cut. For 2015-2016, Journalism has already canceled three course offerings as departments are expected to run leaner. That’s one of the tactics undertaken by the department and college to achieve a solution. Additionally, tenure protections and shared governance have been removed from state statute. In brief, faculty are no longer protected to seek the truth and make recommendations for the betterment of students and even society. Tenure is not about guaranteed lifelong employment. It is earned after years of rigorous effort, and it enables faculty to report data and findings on controversial topics and to protect students from the fly-by-night trends and profiteering at their expense.

Fortunately, there is also good news. One effort the department is excited about is the implementation of a Public Relations major in Fall 2015. After a two-year development and review process led by Dr. Julie Henderson, the UW Board of Regents approved our new major in April 2015. We expect increased enrollment because majors are more appealing to students than emphases, and a major is easier to find in UW’s areas of study listing than an emphasis. This is the only PR major in the UW System, so we expect to see enrollment growth.

Journalism’s enrollment also benefit from continued participation in the Interactive Web Management (IWM) major, which offers B.A., B.S. and B.B.A. degrees through the interdisciplinary program run by Journalism, Computer Science, Information Systems and Marketing. IWM students take at least three Journalism courses, and many are minoring in Journalism.

A number of curricular changes were approved this year. Writing for the Media became a prerequisite for the New and Emerging Media course. Introduction to Journalism and Mass Communication has been changed to Introduction to Media: News, Public Relations and Advertising. This course will become part of UW Oshkosh’s University Studies Program. Two new math and statistics courses are available to meet our requirement in this area, while the College of Business’ economics and accounting courses no longer count. This change will make it easier for students to enroll and complete the quantitative literacy requirement, and quite possibly, lead to dancing in the streets.

On the personnel front, Dr. Sara Steffes Hansen earned tenure. She has been promoted from assistant professor to associate professor after completing the six-year tenure process. As some of you know, Dr. Hansen originally joined Journalism as a part-time lecturer, earned a doctorate at UW Madison, and returned to UW Oshkosh as a tenure-track faculty member.

Dr. Julie Henderson retired after more than two decades of service to the university. She has left the department with the creation of a public relations major, CEPR certification, and a successful PRSSA chapter that students renamed after her. She has repeatedly told us she is moving out of Oshkosh because it is too warm down here. Her colleagues and students wish her well as she returns to Minnesota.

Journalism unsuccessfully conducted a faculty search to replace Dr. Jin Kyun Lee, who returned to South Korea in January 2014 for family reasons. The university is considering Journalism’s request to seek Dr. Henderson’s replacement during 2015-2016 with the goal of a new hire starting in Fall 2016.

Faculty and staff continue creating the reaccreditation report in advance of a site team visit by the Accrediting Council for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication in October 2015. Journalism is also using this process for its program review, which is required of every university department on a rotating basis. This is an opportunity for the department to receive productive feedback. Journalism faculty and staff have begun a SWOT analysis (strengths-weaknesses-opportunities-threats analysis) as part of the review of its strategic plan. While we have already revised our vision statement, mission statement, and core values, Journalism remains committed to providing a liberal arts education along with professional values and competencies. The foundation of this education remains the teaching of writing, despite the many inside jokes I’ve heard that I would try to convert us to the church of photojournalism.

If you haven’t returned to campus and Oshkosh for many years, swing by to see how we have changed. The department moved into Sage Hall in 2011. UW Oshkosh built an Alumni Welcome and Conference Center on Pearl Avenue, the street that leads you to Sage. A few minutes away is Oshkosh’s summer farmers’ market on Main Street, which was named one of the 101 best in 2014. You can extend your stay overnight by checking into the downtown Best Western Premier Waterfront Hotel and receive an alumni discount. The hotel’s ownership includes the UW Oshkosh Foundation. UW Oshkosh’s new chancellor, Dr. Andrew Leavitt, is a frequent visitor to university sporting and cultural events, so you never know when you will get the chance to meet our new campus leader. If you can’t visit this upcoming academic year, you will be pleased to know we are planning our 50th anniversary party during the 2018 Homecoming. Make sure you Save the Date: Oct. 26 & Oct. 27, 2018.

NSAC Part-Two: The Presentation and Pitch

20 05 2015

By: Ian Arthur (@Ian_CHILDonFIRE)

Upon returning from a much-needed spring break, the Brand 44 North team only had two weeks to prepare their presentation and pitch. During this portion of the class, we were split into three groups. The five presenters, Andrea Larson, Hannah Bostwick, Molly Venturini, Erica Van Riper and Jordan Demeny, needed to start working on what they would say and how.

The production team was tasked with creating a Pandora radio ad, complete with audio, as well as a YouTube submission video that would play during the presentation. Finally, the remaining members were to create the actual Prezi presentation.


Since our campaign was about connecting our awkward selves from years past, and how those experiences made us a whole lot better today, just as Pizza Hut had done, the presenters came up with the idea to present next to enlarged pictures of themselves from elementary school. Throughout the week before competition, presenters practiced their pitch repeatedly, slowly memorizing their lines. Finally, it was time to get ready for the trip to Minneapolis.

After a four-and-a-half-hour drive, we arrived safely in Minnesota. After a mandatory meeting, we had a couple of hours to get ready for rehearsal. This is when it finally dawned on me that we were really about to do this. All this work was coming together. Student Erica Van Riper said, “It was rewarding to have something to show for all of the hours and work we put into the whole thing.”

The next day we got up early and made final preparations to present. We entered the big lecture hall in the University of Minnesota and set everything up. The presenters did an amazing job giving their well-rehearsed pitch. “The most rewarding experience for me as an advisor is to see the students pitch their campaign,” said advisor Dana Baumgart. Afterwards, we received some difficult questions from the judges, but the presenters answered them with professionalism and confidence. The judges left and it was finally over.

We attended the awards ceremony that night. We did not place, however we were all proud of our effort. “The best thing about this year’s campaign was the grass roots approach the students took to answering the client’s objective,” Baumgart said, “I feel this is the way that many successful advertising campaigns will happen in the future, and I was happy our students stuck with this idea.”

There were some words of advice for future Strategic Campaigns in Advertising students. “Take this class serious but at the same time have fun with it,” Jordan Demeny said, “you and your team are going to be stressed out a lot, but just remember to have fun and laugh and just enjoy the experience of NSAC.”

Van Riper also had some advice, “I would tell them to take the research class as well because I think it’s helpful to be involved in the whole process.”

It is also important to note that students who participate in NSAC receive a copy of the plans book to take to interviews. “The value of the plans book in the interview stage is priceless,” said Baumgart.

Overall the experience was one that none of us will forget. We came together and created something that we can all be proud of, and forged some amazing friendships along the way. Congratulations to Brand 44 North, we crossed the finish line!