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PR capstone taps two nonprofits for Community Partners Program
Thursday, February 20, 2014

PR capstone taps two nonprofits for Community Partners Program

PR majors (from left) Jennifer Phillips, Flynn Grehlinger, Kevin Civiletto, Grace Gerass and Jessica Johnston gather in front of the university's backdrop following their capstone course's Feb. 18 press conference.

President Virginia Horvath announced earlier this week that the seniors within the campus' Public Relations Capstone course have chosen Chautauqua Rails to Trails and Greystone Nature Preserve as the two organizations they will support during their 2014 Community Partners Program.

“This project highlights the positive contributions SUNY Fredonia students make to the local community,” said Dr. Horvath. “Chautauqua Rails to Trails and Greystone Nature Preserve exemplify the pure beauty of Chautauqua County. This year the students have a chance to do more than just help these organizations grow; they have a chance to preserve some of the greatest areas in the county as well.”

The announcement was made Feb. 18 during a news conference hosted by the seniors in the Williams Center. The organizations were chosen from 16 applicants, which is the largest amount of applications the program has received since it began in 2001. This is also Fredonia’s largest class of public relations students to work on the project, marking the fourth straight year of record enrollment.

The Community Partners Program is an annual project of the public relations major capstone course, Public Relations Campaigns. Students divide into groups which act as “mini” public relations agencies and develop comprehensive strategic plans for local, nonprofit organizations. At the end of the semester, each student group “pitches” its campaign, which includes research, goals, objectives, strategies, tactics and creative materials, to their assigned client.  Both organizations will be given all of groups’ materials and recommendations, however, at the end of the project, to aid them in further implementation.

In addition to preserving 71 acres of land in Chautauqua County, Greystone Nature Preserve provides experiential education to community members of all ages and abilities. Its mission is to welcome all community members to experience, enjoy and appreciate the natural world, while also fostering the natural environment around them. Greystone offers a mixture of spectacular landscapes and walking trails, as well as a panoramic view of Lake Erie. Greystone Nature Preserve has done activities with local schools, home-schooling groups, The Resource Center, Hospice, and individuals alike to give community members a hands-on education on the importance of nature and the beauty of the Chautauqua County.

Chautauqua Rails to Trails also aims to preserve the beautiful, picturesque countryside of Chautauqua County. Its mission is to acquire, develop, manage and maintain multipurpose recreational trails for public use on or near unused and abandoned railroad corridors. Currently it maintains over 30 miles of trails and owns approximately 26 of those miles. Rails to Trails offers a safe place for people to obtain exercise and enjoy nature while hiking, biking, running, horseback riding, cross country skiing and much more. The trails provide public access through scenic woodlands, wetlands and flowering meadows, which offer trail users unparalleled opportunities to experience the heart of Chautauqua County. 

For more information on the Community Partners Program and this year’s nonprofit partners, please visit, or contact Ann Carden, associate professor, at

SUNY Fredonia educates, challenges, and inspires students to become skilled, connected, creative, and responsible global citizens and professionals. The university enriches the world through scholarship, artistic expression, community engagement, and entrepreneurship. It is a comprehensive, public, liberal arts university that offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees and advanced certificate programs.

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