Earlier this month, Betts (BSJ, 2014) earned several accolades for her communications efforts at this year’s EcoCAR 3 awards ceremony in Seattle, Washington. As communications manager for the multidisciplinary team, Betts returned to campus with three awards: first place for best sponsor collaboration video, second place for best outreach presentation, and third place for best overall team communications.
Read a Q&A with Betts below.
Christa Currey: Why did you join WVU’s EcoCAR 3 team?
Chelsea Betts: I think that sustainability and being environmentally friendly is important and being a part of a team that is building a hybrid electric Camaro that will perform well, be safe and maintain its iconic look is exciting to me.
CC: What are your duties as the team’s communications manager?
CB: I’m in charge of managing all social media accounts and maintaining our website. Also, the team is given a set of project deliverables to complete each year [as part of the competition]. As the team’s communications manager, I have my own set of deliverables that include a communications plan, a media relations report and a sponsor collaboration video. We also are required to get eight media hits during the year, coordinate and execute eight outreach events and write eight blog posts.
CC: What do you like best about your position?
CB: Media relations! I enjoy writing press releases and getting reporters to come to our events. We received 17 media hits this year, so that was pretty exciting!
CC: What is your time commitment to the team?
CB: Every day I’m doing something for the team. I have our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts on my phone, and I feel like I use those more than I do my personal accounts. When you handle social media for an organization, it’s difficult to step away from it.
CC: What lessons have you learned from this experience?
CB: One of the biggest lessons that I learned, as far as event planning, is to always have a back-up location. It rained at every single one of our outreach events this year. Also, I learned a lot about the engineering and automotive industries. When I started as communications manager, I was nervous about not knowing all the terminology. Now I’m comfortable talking in public about hybrid electric vehicles.
CC: How did the WVU Reed College of Media prepare you to be a communications manager?
CB: What I like about the College of Media is that the classes are very project based. A lot of what I learned could apply to real-life situations. In my [undergraduate] capstone class, we designed logos and campaign materials and did market research for a real client. I feel like having that experience helped me because I’m doing some of those things for the EcoCAR team.