The Charger Blog

Discovering the Impact of Using Creativity to Raise Awareness

While attending a recent workshop on campus, I learned about the importance of creating effective public service announcements – and I was inspired to create my own. I hope it will help individuals and their families who are being impacted by the opioid crisis.

February 18, 2020

By Emily Brown ’22

Image of Emily Brown ’22
Brown is creating her own PSA to submit.

Fox 61 and Change the Script have partnered to create the “Be an RXpert campaign.” As part of this campaign, students can enter a contest that challenges them to create a public service announcement (PSA). The winners earn a cash prize along with the opportunity to have their PSA aired across Connecticut throughout the month of May.

The goal of the contest and the PSAs is to bring awareness to the opioid crisis happening across the country and state. Geared toward 13 to 22-year-olds, the contest encourages young people to get involved in the conversation about the opioid crisis by researching and creating content for PSAs and developing targeted messages that will resonate with their peers. This is so important because if people are aware of the facts earlier in their lives, more can be done to encourage prevention and awareness.

I recently attended a PSA workshop hosted by Professor Nicki Chavoya and two special guests, Stephanie Moran, prevention services coordinator for the Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, and Trish Hesslein, community marketing manager for FOX 61.

Image of students at PSA workshop
Students learned about creating effective public service announcements at a recent workshop at the University.

During the workshop, I learned more about creating effective public service announcements and the important elements that are involved in a PSA. Trish and Stephanie also talked to us in depth about the contest and the resources available to us as students for research purposes and to the public. I learned a great deal about the steps being taken to help to prevent abuse and addiction and about the resources available to aid in the lifelong recovery process. Personally, this struck a nerve with me.

"I am inspired by the creative process and the impact it can have on an individual and on communities."Emily Brown ’22

I found information on, a source recommended to me by Trish and Stephanie, about the “dos” and “don’ts” for family members and friends. The “dos” include how you should support a person in recovery, and that you should not expect results right away. Often, I believe people forget how the support and understanding of loved ones can mean the difference for someone struggling with addiction.

I attended the workshop to help out and to learn. Before long, I found myself inspired by Trish’s and Stephanie’s passion and expertise, and I decided to create my own PSA to submit. I am currently in pre-production, and I am very excited because this will be my first time working on a project like this.

Image of Emily Brown ’22, Stephanie Moran, and Trish Hesslein
Left to right: Stephanie Moran, Trish Hesslein, Emily Brown ’22

I want my PSA to show that support from loved ones can make a significant impact on someone’s recovery process. Hopefully, my PSA will inspire a person with an opioid-use disorder to reach out for support, but, also, inspire family and friends to educate themselves and consider the support they can offer at every stage of recovery.

In the past, I would have tended not to take advantage of opportunities like this because of my insecurity about my own inexperience in the field. But workshops like this, which are made possible by our incredible faculty members and the partnerships that our department has formed, encourage me and push me forward as a student. I am inspired by the creative process and the impact it can have on an individual and on communities.

Emily Brown ’22 is a communication major at the University of New Haven.