By Sofia Estevez
Public Relations Campaigns, STC 436, is the capstone class for all University of Miami School of Communication public relations majors. The class works as a small firm, developing multifaceted campaigns for real-world clients. Previous clients include the John Offerdahl Gridiron Grill-Off, DJ Irie Foundation Weekend, and Herbert Wellness Center 20th Anniversary.
This year, 27 students and Heidi Carr, lecturer in the Department of Strategic Communication, are collaborating with the Ron Magill Conservation Endowment Fund to help collect $400,000 in donations to reach Ron Magill’s goal of $2 million before he retires in 5 years. Students of the class are working throughout the semester to craft an integrated, engaging campaign geared toward garnering enduring support.
“This is the class our public relations students have been building up to their entire college careers,” said Carr. “It's where they take the skills they've learned in design and marketing classes, in writing and research classes, even [student organizations like] PREP and PRSSA, and create something stunning for our client.”
Magill is an internationally acclaimed wildlife expert and photographer. He has appeared on numerous local, national, and international programs, including National Geographic Explorer, Good Morning America, TODAY, and Sabado Gigante. Through his award-winning photography, Magill has been featured in publications and galleries across the globe, including the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. During his 37-year career with Zoo Miami, Magill has become a highly recognized figure in South Florida. Today, he serves as the zoo’s communications director and a Nikon Ambassador.
Alongside his numerous professional achievements, Magill is wildly passionate about conservation and education.
“We need to get back to the type of programming and education that inspires you to care about wildlife and go outside to learn more about it,” said Magill. “It’s magical, man! That stuff is magical! It’s better than any movie you’ll ever go to.”
The Ron Magill Conservation Endowment Fund has raised nearly $1.6 million toward ensuring support for international conservation projects in perpetuity. The fund’s key projects include the sponsorship of Anatolian Shepard dogs in South Africa, and Harpy eagle conservation efforts in Panama.
Students taking part in STC 436 assisted Magill with his popular Sex and the Animals presentation at Zoo Miami which aims to reveal similarities between humans and wildlife during intimate moments. Students helped with the event’s day-of operations, as well as enjoyed Magill’s jaw-dropping lecture. Aside from a lovely evening, the event presented a fantastic opportunity for primary research. All Sex and the Animals proceeds go to the Ron Magill Conservation Endowment Fund.
The class’ enthusiasm and Magill’s passion for conservation promise to bring an extraordinary campaign. Earth’s wildlife will surely be grateful for it.