The Free Speech Center

First Amendment News and Insights from MTSU

Virginia Union University

Virginia Union University public relations students created a First Amendment Rights Campaign. Title: "1st of all. Panthers Know Their Rights!"
Due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, Virginia Union switched to virtual classes on March 23, 2020, and canceled all events. Under these constantly changing circumstances, the communications plan had to be altered. 

Tasked with promoting and educating Virginia Union University about the First Amendment and its five freedoms, students launched an online campaign.
Students first conducted research through an online pre-survey to determine how much the campus community already knew about First Amendment rights. 
Objectives for the campaign were: 
1. To increase the number of Virginia Union University students and faculty who know the First amendment’s five freedoms by 15 percent by April 22, 2020. 
2. To generate 300 profile visits on the official 1st of All, Panthers Know Their Rights Instagram account by April 21. 
3. To conduct an Instagram account takeover for 4 VUU related accounts by April 20. 
Students then proceeded with a timeline to carry out strategies and tactics of the campaign. Some of the strategies and tactics included: 
  • Creating an Instagram account: @panthersrights official account.
  • Creating content on Canva to post on the Panthers Rights Instagram account.  
  • Directing traffic from Instagram takeovers and VUU influencers to the central page. 
  • Hosting Instagram takeover events on Fridays, Saturdays,  Sundays.
Students were able to utilize Instagram stories, VUU influencers, videos and artwork to engage the VUU campus community online. 
Funding from the grant was used to purchase cameras to record videos, materials for artwork such as flyers and giveaways to encourage people to participate in the online campaign.
Students then distributed a post-survey to evaluate the knowledge of the campus community from the pre-survey at the beginning of campaign to the end of the campaign. 15% more of individuals answered the survey questions correctly — showing Objective #1 was reached. 
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