The South Shore Convention and Visitors Authority will serve as the client for Purdue University Calumet's Problems in Public Relations class. The student-run firm, Red Brick Rhetoric, will perform a communication audit for the tourism group.

"When we learned the students were seeking a client, we knew this would be a great opportunity," said Speros A. Batistatos, president and CEO of the South Shore CVA. "We will be receiving an in-depth look at our communication functions in addition to helping local students gain valuable experience."

According to Red Brick Rhetoric's Public Relations Director Jasmin Zamora, a communication audit is a test of the effectiveness of an organization's communication channels. Red Brick Rhetoric will use a variety of methods, including benchmarking, interviews, focus groups and surveys, to better understand how the South Shore CVA communicates with its internal and external publics.

"We're very interested in getting a better understanding of the public's perception of our organization," said Batistatos. "We are hoping to learn what people think of us, our special events and things we're involved with as well as our constant changing technology."

"We will be interviewing people who work with the South Shore CVA, both internally and externally, from a guide that was built from benchmarking reports," said Zamora. "Each step builds off one another."

While seeking a client, Hannah Nava, Red Brick Rhetoric's CEO, stated that presentations had been made at a number of local businesses. Following the South Shore CVA's presentation, Red Brick Rhetoric submitted a proposal on the services they'd be able to provide the organization.

"We choose the South Shore CVA because the organization is very willing to work with Red Brick Rhetoric," stated Nava.

Additionally, Nava commented that the complexity of the South Shore CVA and its partners offered a different experience to that of previous classes. The Problems in PR class has performed communication audits for the Northwest Indiana Patient Safety Coalition, Schepel Buick GMC, NIPSCO and the City of Portage.

"We're looking forward to this unique opportunity. Strong communication is vital to any organization's ability to thrive in a constantly changing market," said Batistatos.