Communication and Media Studies Students Dedicate Class Time to Helping Horses
Debbie Danowski, Ph.D., associate professor of Communication and Media Studies, has her Advertising and Public Relations Practical Applications students working for H.O.R.S.E. of Connecticut. H.O.R.S.E. stands for the Humane Organization Representing Suffering Equines, located in Washington, CT. Professor Danowski has been an active volunteer since November and said she was moved by the organization’s enthusiasm and commitment.
“When I first began volunteering, I was very impressed with the organization, which has been in existence for over 30 years and has saved more than 650 horses. I decided to incorporate my volunteer work into my class so that my students would have practical public relations experience working for an established and respected organization,” she said.
Professor Danowski’s students took a trip to the H.O.R.S.E. farm in February and have been working to promote the organization ever since. Their work includes writing press releases, designing flyers, using social media to promote various fundraising efforts and creating awareness about the good work being done by H.O.R.S.E.
All of the horses that come to the farm have been abused, neglected and/or starved. H.O.R.S.E President Patty Wahlers and her group of volunteers work to rehabilitate and care for the horses. They emphasize that each horse has its own story, and students have been assigned to work on publicizing a particular horse.
Professor Danowski believes that working so closely with the organization allows her students to have an active and engaged learning experience that cannot be duplicated in a classroom. Students face real-life public relations situations that they must learn how to handle. In addition, students have learned a great deal about animal welfare and the unfortunate way they are sometimes treated.
“Working as a volunteer for H.O.R.S.E. of Connecticut has been a great experience. Being involved with the organization through my class has allowed me to be physically engaged in helping advertise for H.O.R.S.E. By promoting the organization and being an advocate for its cause, more people are becoming aware of their needs and what the volunteer group is truly about,” said sophomore Lauren Kalil.