‘Step Up-Step In’ campaign earns national recognition

Student Bryce Heilman at the Bowen-Thompson Student Union grand staircase

By Samantha Sharp

The National Intramural Sports and Recreation Association (NIRSA) recognized Bowling Green State University Recreation and Wellness recently at its national conference in Boston. BGSU took home second place in the Large Format Display category at the NIRSA National Creative Excellence Awards.

NIRSA recognizes collegiate marketing teams for their outstanding marketing accomplishments promoting well-being, recreation and healthy living messages. The BGSU Wellness Connection’s Interactive Installations submission was the Step Up-Step In” campaign, whose messaging emphasizes bystander intervention strategies. The phrases “Step Up-Step In” and “Falcons got your back” were marketed to students, faculty and staff on T-shirts, flyers, social media, digital screens and other physical outreach formats. The overall purpose of the campaign was to encourage active participation in creating a culture of shared respect at BGSU.

The two phrases and installations were meant to “help make your residence hall, classrooms, activity spaces, and the entire community a place where others feel safe and protected. Let those who live, work, and learn here know that you’ve got their back,” according to Faith Denardo, wellness connection director and Title IX deputy coordinator.

The installations were inspired by Wellness Connection’s Bystander Intervention programming and It’s On Us initiative. The “Step Up-Step In” message calls students and the community to action to intervene and help prevent sexual violence. Funding for the installations came from a grant from the Ohio Department of Education for Changing Campus Culture received by Recreation and Wellness for the 2017-18 academic year.

The large-format graphics were placed throughout campus on staircases and murals, where they could be seen by anyone using the Bowen-Thompson Student Union grand staircase or Stroh Center south staircase, or visiting the Falcon Health Center, Student Recreation Center, Slater Family Ice Arena, Title IX Office and the Center for Women and Gender Equity.

For maximum impact, they were designed and installed creatively to encourage interaction and support for the initiative. For example, willing participants were able to engage with the signs by physically stepping over the messaging and up a staircase located between the first and second floors of the Union.

“I’m most proud of the multiple collaborations that made the project possible in the first place,” said Lona Leck, assistant director of Recreation and Wellness. “And the volume of support our department has received from all divisions on campus and the level of involvement from so many students who believe in the message and in making a difference is humbling and inspiring.”

The Counseling Center, Fraternity and Sorority Life, Athletics and Residence Life partnered with Wellness Connection in the initial phase of the creative process. This included the tasks of brainstorming and determining a creative and high-impact medium with which to deliver the message. Former Recreation and Wellness intern Bryce Heilman worked on the execution of the marketing of assault prevention and awareness, and student Hyunjin Lee worked on various outreach projects for the department during a practicum with the division.

BGSU Recreation and Wellness has received NIRSA accolades in past years in the categories of student digital design, website design, programming publications and digital presentations. 

Updated: 01/25/2022 02:54PM