University Relations team picks up two more top global awards

 Above: Two of the award-winning posters created for York’s Inclusion Day campaign.

York’s share of the limelight in the annual Council for the Advancement & Support of Education (CASE) Circle of Excellence awards grew a little wider with the announcement that work by communications staff in the University Relations Division has won two additional top-level medals in the worldwide competition.

An advertisement to promote the Social Justice Campaign’s Inclusion Project, developed by the Account Direction team in partnership with York’s Center for Human Rights, won a grand gold medal for Individual Ads. And the Media Relations Department crafted and promoted a series of news releases about York research that won a gold medal in the News Writing category.

The CASE competition covers institutions from the international organization’s North American, European and Asia-Pacific regions. Overall, staff of the University Relations Division and the York University Foundation have won 10 medals in 2010 competitions: four from CASE and six from the Canadian Council for the Advancement of Education (see YFile, May 26).

“These latest awards confirm the respect that York has earned for its expertise in communicating to the world information about our research and our values,” said Jennifer Sloan, vice-president university relations. “I am very proud of the team and the work they have done in partnership with faculty and other University departments.”

The entry that won grand gold (a level above gold) was part of a campaign for the Inclusion Project, an initiative for Inclusion Day by York’s Centre for Human Rights, featuring a series of posters that dramatized the harm that intolerant words and graffiti can do. The campaign was aimed at “those members of the York community who do not embrace the diversity and acceptance that is York’s hallmark…the ones who make snide remarks, write hurtful graffiti, whisper and point, and in many other ways fail to include all of York’s population into the community,” said the concept study.

The key initiative was a professionally designed poster campaign for the entire campus, with emphasis on the residences, intended to make people think about their own feelings and attitudes toward others. The four posters showed angry people shouting and included text lines such as: “WORDS HAVE A WAY OF HITTING INNOCENT BYSTANDERS” followed by an image of a bullet, and “IT’S NOT JUST WHAT YOU SAY BUT HOW YOU SAY IT” above an image of a falling bomb.

The goal of the campaign was to have people visit the York Centre for Human Rights Web site, which includes links to SexGen York and other resources with information on how people can change their attitude towards others who are different.

“The award was a confirmation of the excellent work that went into the Respect Differences/Share Ideas initiative,” said Noël Badiou, director of York’s Center for Human Rights. “The centre continues to receive requests for copies of the posters from both within our community and without and we have received many words of appreciation and praise for the Respect Differences/Share Ideas initiative.”

Left: Backpack-toting birds were featured in one of five award-winning news releases

For the gold award, Media Relations staffers Janice Walls and Melissa Hughes wrote and publicized five news releases about York research that won the University recognition in media outlets across Canada and around the world, including publications such as The New York Times, the Washington Post and news organizations in the United Kingdom and Asia.

The winning entry featured these releases:

York’s media releases can be seen daily on the University’s home page and are carried in YFile.