A pedagogical innovation we worked on in the spring 2015 semester at Bridgewater State University was an initiative on behalf of a non-profit organization called A Promise to Adam (P2A). Adam London was a 17-year old high school student from Newton, MA who died in a single-car accident, after losing control of his vehicle in heavy rain and slamming into a tree. Shortly after the accident it emerged that Adam had been speeding, was not wearing a seatbelt and had trace alcohol in his bloodstream. Adam had earned his driver’s license only 5 weeks earlier. The “Promise to Adam” organization asks young drivers (and their parents/guardians) to sign a pledge concerning risky behavior and driving.
Our aim was to coordinate with other instructors/classes across the Communication Studies department to create a campaign to develop a campus-wide “Promise to Adam Pledge Drive” that would challenge BSU students, campus leaders, not drive while distracted. It also provided students with a great opportunity to apply the strategic communication concepts and theories they are learning in the the classroom to a real-world, worthy cause.
With the support of our colleagues we crafted a variety of activities and assignments aimed at creating a campaign to:
i) put a spotlight on the dangers of distracted driving and
ii) encourage the BSU community to eliminate all distractions when driving.
Throughout the semester we worked closely with Dr. Howard London (Adam’s father) and by the end of the semester students had, among other things, created a social media strategy for the organization, a strategic communication campaign plan, and a variety of strategic writing artifacts. Students also had an opportunity to share their efforts and key findings / recommendations with faculty and fellow students at the 2015 College of Communication Studies Awards Ceremony in April.